Lightening detector keeps athletes safe

By Alyssa Donovan

May 31, 2013 Updated May 31, 2013 at 7:07 PM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill.--THE IHSA girls’ softball championships are being held at the Eastside Centre this weekend.

And although there are storms in this weekends forecast, the sports centre may be the safest place to play ball.

The Eastside Centre is home to a state of the art lightening detector.

It works by measuring the atmosphere, and when the conditions are right to produce lightning, an alarm goes off.

When the alarm sounds, players and fans have to leave the field and wait for the all-clear.

Once the all-clear is given, everyone can return to the field, but must wait another half hour before play can resume, a rule put in place by the IHSA.

While we were there on Friday, players and fans were just coming back from one of those delays.

Eastside Centre director Dan Cunningham says sometimes people are not too happy to leave the field... But it's all about playing it safe. He said, “It's a lifesaver for us because number one it gets people out of harms way but number two is it lets us know when it's safe to bring them back and we can get the games going in a safe manner."

IHSA officials say the goal is to get both 1A and 2A championships finished by Saturday night, but if the rough weather continues they may have to finish up on Sunday.

The system has been at the Eastside Centre for 12 years and Cunningham says it has literally been a life saver.

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