Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgewood Weighs Lightning Detector

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgewood Weighs Lightning Detector

Article excerpt

RIDGEWOOD -- A lightning detection system could be installed at Graydon Pool and some of the sports fields in town if the Village Council agrees that the equipment will benefit the public.

Some of the components of the system, which has already been tested at Veterans Field, are in hand. It was purchased seven months ago through the school district, Mayor Keith Killion said. A presentation and demonstration of the system will follow Wednesday's public meeting on the budget and will allow the council to determine if the system is worthwhile.

Many towns and county facilities have installed lightning detection systems on fields and golf courses in recent years. East Rutherford bought a system five years ago. Dumont and Wayne installed systems two years ago for $29,000 and $31,000, respectively. Teaneck installed a system in 2009. Other towns have followed suit, following the deaths in 2006 of two teenagers leaving a soccer field in Montvale.

"The device works off a national grid -- similar to television weather channels where lightning strikes are recorded," Killion said. "The system has rotating lights and it allows coaches to receive emails of impending lightning."

It detects lightning activity within 20 miles and lightning strikes within 10 miles, Killion said.

The proposed installation is a partnership between the Ridgewood Board of Education and the town, schools Superintendent Daniel Fishbein said.

"The board purchased the equipment," Fishbein said. If approved, both the town and school district will be responsible for training school and recreational sports coaches in its use, he said.

The district has $10,000 of "raw equipment," in hand that came through a cooperative purchase that relied on the expertise of the Village's Office of Emergency Management, Fishbein said.

"It's a great idea," Fishbein said. …

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