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Reporting Adults Who Do Not Follow Lightning Precautions


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At our Scout meeting, I talked with parents of our newest NYLT grad.  During the NYLT session last weekend, there was a strong thunderstorm.  (We live about 12 miles, as the crow flies, from the camp, and it was pretty intense here.)

The parents told me their Scout was terrified...Scout reports that NYLT adult leaders told them to stay outdoors during the storm with visible lightning/audible thunder.  Dining hall was about 250 feet away.  The parents asked me about lightning safety precautions and why they weren't followed.  I told them I'd look into it and report.

I will seek some additional input from our other NYLTers to corroborate, and report this to our SE in the morning.

Any advice or experiences to share??

These things, if true, really chap my hide, as they border on criminal...

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I'm trying to figure  out what to do with these staffers.  Could we tell Will Smith they made fun of his wife?   As others have pointed out there comes a time in most people's lives, when they re

Playing devils advocate, if the nearby dining hall is taller and does not have a lightning rod to ground it, also if the construction materials of the dining hall are more conductive then the shorter

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I follow the rules in scouts because they're the rules.  I have to admit I don't get very excited about them if I'm on my own.  

I certainly don't do foolish things: I'll get off the water if I'm in a boat; I'm not hugging tall trees in an open field, but if in my own tent I wouldn't get up and go seek shelter in the middle of the night if my tent is holding up.

Lightning kills 20 people a year in the US, and injures a few hundred more.  In a population of 350 million those are really miniscule numbers.  Many other things I do on a regular basis are far more dangerous.

Edited by T2Eagle
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1 minute ago, T2Eagle said:

I follow the rules in scouts because they're the rules.  I have to admit I don't get very excited about them if I'm on my own.

For instance, if in my own tent I wouldn't get up and go seek shelter in the middle of the night if my tent is holding up.

Lightning kills 20 people a year in the US, and injures a few hundred more.  In a population of 350 million those are really miniscule numbers.  Many other things I do on a regular basis are far more dangerous.

Concur.  You and I can take our own risks. 

But, when dealing with OPK (other peoples' kids) (or your own kids, too, for that matter), the standards for duty of care, negligence, and child endangerment apply.

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7 minutes ago, T2Eagle said:

I follow the rules in scouts because they're the rules.  I have to admit I don't get very excited about them if I'm on my own.

For instance, if in my own tent I wouldn't get up and go seek shelter in the middle of the night if my tent is holding up.

Lightning kills 20 people a year in the US, and injures a few hundred more.  In a population of 350 million those are really miniscule numbers.  Many other things I do on a regular basis are far more dangerous.

And your stats are misleading.  Those 350 million aren't really the sample population; they aren't outdoors in a thunderstorm.

https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/680-056_lightning.pdf

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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This kind of nonsense is a part of why we left scouts. There is just no consistent baseline of outdoors commonsense in scouting. Years ago I don't remember it being such an issue. My personal, anecdotal belief is that more people in years past, even suburban people, grew up with more outdoor experience and understood the consequences of foolhardiness. Now, people do not have that background noise to inform their decisions and they do really questionable things. It's like talking to a wall to try and address this stuff. 

I haven't been killed by lightning thank God, but I've had three close calls with it. They were life altering enough that I take weather events very seriously.  I've learned forget the phone apps, weather can break over your head so look up rather than down at your phone. I've learned that lightning can literally strike out of the blue even if you are just hearing rumbling in the distance. I've learned you can get knocked off your feet if you are touching the wrong thing or standing in the wrong place. I don't know why anyone would treat volatile weather with anything other than extreme caution. 

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1 hour ago, yknot said:

lightning can literally strike out of the blue

Lightning can strike as far away as 60 to 100 MILES from your location (depending on your source of info).

And the phrase, "bolt from the blue" is true.  You can be in total sunshine and get hit by lightning.

If you are ANYWHERE on Philmont and hear thunder, (ANYWHERE ON PHILMONT) there is lightning which created the thunder and you are a potential target.

Philmont is small considering the enormous reach of lightning.

Scatter, get off ridges, provide only one point of contact to Earth.  Sit on a foam sleeping pad, knees in the air, arms locked under your knees, with one's feet in the air.

You scatter so that if lightning strikes, some in your crew will not be injured and they can assist the injured.

At Santa Claus camp, one year of my experience, a crew hiked in while our crew was lightning hunkeryed-down.

"How close was the lightening?"

"We could feel the heat."

Way too close.

 

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10 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

At our Scout meeting, I talked with parents of our newest NYLT grad.  During the NYLT session last weekend, there was a strong thunderstorm.  (We live about 12 miles, as the crow flies, from the camp, and it was pretty intense here.)

The parents told me their Scout was terrified...Scout reports that NYLT adult leaders told them to stay outdoors during the storm with visible lightning/audible thunder.  Dining hall was about 250 feet away.  The parents asked me about lightning safety precautions and why they weren't followed.  I told them I'd look into it and report.

I will seek some additional input from our other NYLTers to corroborate, and report this to our SE in the morning.

Any advice or experiences to share??

These things, if true, really chap my hide, as they border on criminal...

Some of my scouts were injured during this NYLT training. As instructed by "adults" (keeping it scoutlike), scouts gathered on high ground under tall Eastern White Pines under a canvas canopy with aluminum poles during the lightning storm.  Camp Bell had a written weather safety procedure to evacuate downhill to the Camp Lodge. Neither training nor this camp policy were followed.

Despite the injuries, scouter and parent uproar, the same "adults" staffed NYLT the next summer.

Eventually, word got to National, perhaps through this forum, perhaps through incident reports.

https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/680-056_lightning.pdf

This incident is Incident Review #4 on above pdf.

 

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Follow the rules.  I understand there are cases that are tough calls.  For example, we were at summer camp in a major storm (lightening not wind) that came on fast in the middle of the night.  We stayed in our tents and didn't evacuate as the path to evacuate was likely more dangerous than the area we were already in.  There are cases where you are out on high adventure trips where you make the best call you can.

The case described here isn't that ... let them walk 250 feet and seek shelter.  I don't understand why they wouldn't.

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1 minute ago, Eagle1993 said:

Follow the rules.  I understand there are cases that are tough calls.  For example, we were at summer camp in a major storm (lightening not wind) that came on fast in the middle of the night.  We stayed in our tents and didn't evacuate as the path to evacuate was likely more dangerous than the area we were already in.  There are cases where you are out on high adventure trips where you make the best call you can.

The case described here isn't that ... let them walk 250 feet and seek shelter.  I don't understand why they wouldn't.

Second parent confirms same story from their Scout this morning...and that there were several Scouts who knew they shouldn't be out, but the adults told them to stay.  

grrrrrrr

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1 hour ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Second parent confirms same story from their Scout this morning...and that there were several Scouts who knew they shouldn't be out, but the adults told them to stay.   ...

Definitely contact the SE. Also, file an incident report https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/incident-report/. If this were COPE, it would constitute a "near miss".

Once emotions cool down, you may want to discuss with your scouts about unlawful orders and orders unlawfully given. This probably won't be the first time in their life where they will feel pressure to comply against their training. For some, they may find themselves pressuring others to go against their training.

Note that I said training vs. better judgement. There are times when your better judgement is neutral, or maybe wrong. That's a different lesson.

Regarding @yknot's "common sense". My mom grew up during the Depression in a house that wasn't grounded. She remembers watching the balls of lightning roll across the floor. So, general ignorance is probably a victim of successful building inspection over the past century. I just relayed to my scouts the story I got from an old-timer camp staff from when I was a kid about the camp where we stayed. They had gotten everyone out of a storm and moved indoors to the craft shed. The lightning strike found it's way down the walls, across the floor, up the table and through the stamp of the one scout who was making contact with it on the down-stroke. The poor lad instantly went into cardiac arrest and could not be revived. These aren't stories that I like to retell, but it's all I have to enable scouts to increase awareness of their surroundings.

Edited by qwazse
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1 hour ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Second parent confirms same story from their Scout this morning...and that there were several Scouts who knew they shouldn't be out, but the adults told them to stay.  

grrrrrrr

When you say stay out, was this middle of the night when everyone would have to get out of tents, or is this during normal hours when it really is just a matter of running through the rain to the nearby building?  Where actually were they?  Hopefully not just standing out in the rain.  

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Dining flys, canopies, and three-sided lean-to's in the campsite immediately adjacent to dining hall.  During the afternoon/evening and into the night... Talking with one more Scout this evening to corroborate before I submit a report to council.  Thanks @qwazse for vector on the Near Miss.  Spot on.

They were literally 200-250 feet from a dining hall that accommodates 500 people...

More to follow...

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7 hours ago, scoutldr said:

Things get really confusing when your camp is 50 miles from an Army post that routinely conducts artillery training.

That does complicate things. We have a few campgrounds close to bases but they do sometimes (sometimes) send out alerts to the public before firing off anything big. There is also a National refuge near us that is a popular hiking spot. On one side it is bordered by a fireworks manufacturer and they routinely test. Also alarming, lol. 

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4 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

Some of my scouts were injured during this NYLT training. As instructed by "adults" (keeping it scoutlike), scouts gathered on high ground under tall Eastern White Pines under a canvas canopy with aluminum poles during the lightning storm.  Camp Bell had a written weather safety procedure to evacuate downhill to the Camp Lodge. Neither training nor this camp policy were followed.

Despite the injuries, scouter and parent uproar, the same "adults" staffed NYLT the next summer.

Eventually, word got to National, perhaps through this forum, perhaps through incident reports.

https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/680-056_lightning.pdf

This incident is Incident Review #4 on above pdf.

 

Sorry to hear that. 

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