Friday Night Lightning


By the time this editorial is published, everyone will be well into their fall sports programs. These contests range from major sports like football and soccer to the multitude of intramural sports that take place every day on campus. Without exception, all of these activities take place outdoors, exposed to all kinds of weather conditions. In most areas of the country, the storms of summer have diminished. However, violent storms will still show up until November. Even though the number of storms may be few and far between, the danger lies in the very unpredictable nature of these storms. The lightning can be first strike invaders or the low frequency of strikes fools people into believing it is safe to remain outdoors when it is not. Most tend to believe that if the rain is not falling, then the weather is not dangerous. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What options do you have?

Over the last eighteen years scores of colleges, universities, school districts and independent schools have purchased lightning warning system which automatically sounds various alerts when lightning is either detected or predicted. Then, after the storms have passed, an All Clear is provided. Many lives have been saved at these facilities to the relief of teachers, administrators and parents. There is no reasonable excuse for not investing in the best technology available. There are options which can be broken down into two categories: prediction and detection. Being an editorial, the focus of this article will not get into the differences in each technology, but rather the true value of the investment.

How to make the perfect warning system choice.

As with any major purchase, it is advisable to do your research on the internet then contact other facilities in your area who are utilizing a lightning warning system. A meeting with a company representative is mandatory because a site visit will highlight exactly what components your facility will need for a comprehensive warning package.

Whatever you do, choose the company who spends all of their time explaining the technology and benefits of the technology they are there to tell you about. Companies who trash the competition without being asked to compare their system to some other system are not worth pursuing. In fact, they are probably hiding something. Also be sensitive to the length of time the companies have been in the business of lightning warning. Experience is king. Making the right choice could be a lifesaver!


Bob Dugan has been with Thor Guard since 1990, becoming President in 2000. Bob is a Holy Cross Graduate (Worcester, MA) and has spent most of his career in the Chicago area. After failing to earn a spot on the PGA Tour, Bob worked in industrial and organizational psychology, sales, Executive Search and worked with Gary Loomis developing the famous Loomis graphite golf shaft of the early and mid- 1990’s. In what little spare time he has, Bob loves fishing, golf and music- both playing and listening

Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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