How to keep golfers as safe as possible from lightning strikes

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick January 25, 2020 12:40

Complete lightning detection and warning system to keep members safe, from Biral and Reesink Turfcare.

In Britain, lightning strikes the ground about 300,000 times and between 30 and 60 people a year, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Most at risk are people who spend a lot of time outdoors in unsheltered locations, such as golfers.

And it’s a danger that shouldn’t be underestimated, demonstrated last year at the PGA Tour Championship in America in August. Play was halted as thunderstorms moved into the area, but warning wasn’t quick enough, and six spectators were injured by debris from a tree struck by lightning and taken to hospital.

Distributor Reesink Turfcare has identified the need for course managers and greenkeepers in the UK to have the option to provide health and safety measures in respects to lightning and have the technology to make a risk assessment as weather turns and provide a duty of care for its members. That’s why Reesink has expanded its range to include the BTD-200 lightning warning system from meteorological equipment specialist Biral.

Robert Jackson, water division sales manager for distributor Reesink, says: “It is of the utmost importance for golf clubs to keep their members safe and Biral’s BTD-200, with its accurate detection range of 22 miles, warns of the most dangerous lightning risk before the first lightning strike. This can give the golf club management team up to 20 minutes to alert members.

Display clearly shows lightning distance warning zones on a local map and the current lightning warning state shown in real-time.

“All companies have a duty of care to make their customers aware of any possible dangers. This early warning detection system allows golf clubs to do just that, helping to protect people and equipment from the dangers of a lightning strike by providing enough advanced warning of a storm’s approach to alert staff, members, teams and the public to the risks of remaining outdoors.”

Designed to be quickly and easily installed, the comprehensive server software package of the BTD-200 detects cloud-to-ground, intra-cloud and cloud-to-cloud lightning, charged precipitation and strong atmospheric electric fields, displaying the lightning distance in real-time on a map of the local area and the current lightning alarm level.

Quasi-electrostatic measurements avoid the problem of false alarms and mechanical failures associated with the detection of lightning using radio wave and field-mill based sensors. It’s able to issue overhead lightning warnings prior to the first lightning strike unlike systems based on radio waves. With the BTD-200, the detector is placed outside while a PC indoors runs the software. The modular system is designed to operate out-of-the-box with minimal installation required and maintenance is made simple with sensor health status display ensuring the system is fully operational. Plus, up to five people can simultaneously use the system, and the fully automatic alarm triggering can link up to five computers at a time.

The risk adverse weather can pose to customers and staff in outdoor locations such as golf clubs makes it vital that the industry carefully considers and manages this threat. Being able to reliably warn of the presence of thunderstorms can increase both safety and productivity.

The BTD-200 Lightning Warning System is a complete, out-of-the-box, self-contained sensor that reliably detects the presence of all forms of lightning to a range of 35km.

Robert concludes: “It’s a system tried and tested in the aviation industry and we’re delighted to bring it to the UK’s golf clubs and sporting venues as the brand’s sole distributor in the UK and Ireland. When you consider the chance of being struck by lightning is higher than getting a hole in one, it brings home how important having adequate warning is!”

The system

The BTD-200 lightning warning system is a modular system which is designed to operate out-of-the-box but is also expandable as requirements grow or change.

  • Multi-user capability with up to five simultaneous users (one administrator, four viewing stations)
  • Map overly showing lightning distance warning zones (user adjustable)
  • Current lightning warning state shown in real-time
  • Sensor health status display ensure system is fully operational
  • System configuration window
  • Automatic data logging of lightning events for later data retrieval and review.

Key features and benefits

  • Complete, out-of-the-box warning system with minimal installation
  • Fully automatic alarm triggering
  • Warns of the most dangerous (overhead) lightning risk even before the first lightning strike
  • Advanced automatic self-test to ensure system operation
  • Accurate 35km (22 miles) detection range
  • Detects cloud-to-ground, intra-cloud and cloud-to-cloud lightning
  • Detects charged precipitation and strong atmospheric electric fields
  • Supplied with Lightning Works server software.



Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick January 25, 2020 12:40
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