Given our location in a tropical climate with over 160 thunderstorm days per year on average, lightning safety is of the utmost importance at TRC.
SUSPENSION and RESUMPTION OF PLAY PROTOCOL:
- Suspension of play (ie all club members and guests needing to retreat under cover to a safe area*) is based on the typical schools and outdoor activity policies in Singapore, these are consistent with the maximum sensitivity of commercial lightning meters:
- any cloud to ground strike within an 8km radius forces suspension of play (and retreat to a safe area);
- there must be no CtG strike within an 8km radius for at least 15 mins before play and outdoor activity can resume
- Strike alerts can be found on the My Env app and the national online lightning alert service http://www.weather.gov.sg/lightning/lightning/lightningalertinformationsystem.jsp (note that the previous app lightning.sg is no longer operational and its functions have been merged with the My ENV app).
- TRC also use a handheld lightning alter meter – as also used by the schools – as a back-up in tandem with the online service.
RESPONSIBLE PERSONS for APPLYING THE PROTOCOL at a TRAINING SESSION OR MATCH
- At regular club training, a Committee member at the grounds will monitor the alerts and will make the call to stop play and retreat to a safe area.
- On the rare occasion that no committee member is present at regular training, a Head Coach or responsible person will be nominated by the committee for the day.
- At TRC tournaments the Tournament Director will make and implement these decisions.
- For any out of hours training sessions at TRC pitches (or at any venue where TRC training is taking place), the Head Coach in charge is responsible for monitoring the weather and applying the same protocol. **
COMMUNICATION of CANCELLATION of TRAINING and MATCHES
- Only the Head Coach/Team Manager will make and communicate the decision on whether to cancel an event for their age group.
- They will decide on a notice period, (eg “decision will be made 1 hour before the meeting time”), based on their understanding of their age group’s context including players travel times, members living far from TRC and how important the session is and thus how late they want to leave it before making the decision.
- For regular training and home matches the club will keep the Head Coach and Team Managers up to speed on conditions and lightning status at the pitches to allow them to make an informed judgement about whether to meet or cancel, however regardless of any decision to meet or not, the above suspension/resume and protocol will be applied at the pitches at all times.
- Communication will be via TeamSnap and if in use age group WhatsApp channels.
*Safe areas at TRC are under the permanently tented areas only (not under temporary/moveable tents or at sight-screens, pylons, post or lights) – note that all permanent structures at TRC are lightning protected.
** Alerts can be automated using the My Env app. Best practice in these circumstances would be for the Head Coach to appoint a Team Manager or parent to monitor the app or website while training is going on.
Fortunately, the Singapore Government has done a lot of work in recent years, setting clear policies for schools, sport and the public, including releasing hourly raw data that the Government models use, as well as 3rd party sites such as AQI (for their own purposes and algorithms).
TRC follows haze policies and recommendations laid out by the Singapore government, in line with both international and local schools in Singapore (and other sports clubs)
|24 Hour PSI Reading||1 Hour PM2.5 Reading||Action|
|101 or above||56 or above||All training will be modified to prevent sustained vigorous activity.|
|151 or above||101 or above||All training/matches immediately cancelled|
FAQs and explanations of these can be found at https://www.nea.gov.sg/our-services/pollution-control/air-pollution/faqs
Live data and forecasts can be found at https://www.haze.gov.sg/ or on the “my ENV” mobile app – TRC is considered to be within the ‘Central’ area
We use these sources to constantly monitor:
- The 24-hour PSI readings for Central Singapore – which we use for daily planning – a 24hr PSI over 100 is considered unhealthy for vigorous outdoor activity and we would for example consider cancelling training
- The hourly 1-hr PM2.5 levels, <55 is normal, 56-150 is elevated, >150 is high
- Specific NEA advice based on their forecasts (updated regularly)
Thus at present we consider cancelling activities if the 24hr PSI >100 or the 1 hour PM2.5 >56
We also look at actual conditions on site given that haze can both change quickly and vary greatly between areas within Singapore. If conditions appear more severe than NEA’s readings indicate, we will make a call on whether to proceed with the activity.
- An explanation of why PSI is used rather than say AQI (https://aqicn.org/city/singapore/central/ which uses the same NEA raw data but a different calculation approach for the overall risk score) can be found on the government’s website at https://www.nea.gov.sg/our-services/pollution-control/air-pollution/faqs#chapterD
- The government health guidelines and cut-off points referenced above are aimed at children and other sensitive groups
What this means for Tournaments:
- As the government’s forecast is limited, and the PSI levels change markedly day to day, it is not feasible for us to make a decision to cancel a tournament with any sensible amount of notice period (which would need to be several days out to be of use to visitors)
- There is of course a chance that conditions worsen significantly and persistently in Singapore and we have to cancel play near in to the tournament, e.g. on the morning of the tournament or late the night before.
- If haze remains an issue during a tournament, we will use the data sources outlined above to manage play safely. As we have access to hourly 1-hr PM2.5 readings for our area these provide a useful data point to do so, as outlined by the government.