Enlightenment about Lightning Protection Terms (Decoding the code jargon!)

inenglish!August 18, 2015 — Every profession and field of endeavor subscribes to its own jargon, which can be a source of serious frustration for those unfamiliar with the insider lingo.

The world of lightning protection is no exception. Unfortunately, the language of lightning protection installation can be a source of confusion for consumers and homeowners trying to decipher and understand the industry jargon. In an attempt to decode the code language, here’s a “Glossary” to enlighten readers about a few commonly-used lightning protection terms.

Note: language referenced below is as defined by the Lightning Protection Institute Standard of Practice for the Design – Installation – Inspection of Lightning Protection Systems, LPI-175/2014 Edition

Glossary of Lightning Protection Terms

Authority Having Jurisdiction: The organization, office, or individual responsible for approval and enforcement of equipment, materials, and installation or a procedure.

Bonding: An electrical connection between an electrically conductive object and a component of a lightning protection system that is intended to significantly reduce potential differences created by lightning currents.

Cable: A factory assembly combining multiple wire strands together to form a single conductor.  

Conductors: Devices defined by this Standard (LPI-175) as suitable to carry lightning current or make bonding interconnections.

Fastener: A component or set of components used to securely attach materials to the structure.  (Kim’s note: A fastener may also be a mechanical device, such as a rivet, bolt, screw, or pin that is used to securely hold two or more components together.)

Grounded: Connected to earth or to some conducting body that is connected to earth ground.

Grounding Electrode: The portion of a lightning protection system, such as a ground rod, ground plate or ground conductor that is installed for the purpose of providing electrical contact with the earth. (Kim’s note: grounding electrode applications must be suitable for soil conditions present at the location for the lightning protection system installation.)

Labeled: Equipment or materials to which has been attached a label, symbol, or other identifying mark of an organization that is acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and concerned with product evaluation, that maintains periodic inspection of production of labeled equipment or materials, and by whose labeling the manufacturer indicates compliance with appropriate standards or performance in a specified manner. (Kim’s note: equipment and materials are labeled for quality control purposes.)

Lightning Protection System: A complete system of strike termination devices, main conductors (including conductive structural members), grounding electrodes, bonding or interconnecting conductors, surge protection devices and other connectors or fittings required to complete the system.

Listed: Equipment, materials or services included in a list published by an organization that is acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and concerned with evaluation of products or services, that maintains periodic inspection of listed equipment or materials, or service meets appropriate designated standards or has been tested and found suitable for a specified purpose. (Kim’s note: lightning protection components are typically, “UL-listed” for quality control purposes and contractor firms are typically UL-listed to install lightning protection systems.)

Strike Termination Device (Air terminal): A component of a lightning protection system that intercepts lightning flashes and connects them to a path to ground.  Strike termination devices include air terminals, metal masts, qualified permanent metal parts of structures (as described in LPI-175), and overhead ground wires installed in catenary (overhead shielding), lightning protection systems.

Surge Protective Device (SPD): A device composed of any combination of linear or nonlinear circuit elements intended for limiting surge voltages on equipment by diverting or limiting surge current that comprises at least one nonlinear component. (Kim’s note: SPD’s are also described as “lightning arresters, surge arresters, surge suppressors and TVSS” in the field. SPD’s are typically installed in service electrical panels to block or ground lightning’s harmful voltage.)

 Zone of Protection: The space adjacent to a lightning protection system that is substantially immune to direct lightning flashes. 

Haiti Project Call to Action!

Support the Haiti Orphanage Project!

Support the Haiti Orphanage Project!

July 31, 2015

In 2012 the St. Helen’s Home and Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs “Our Little Brothers and Sisters” Orphanage (NPFS)  reached out to the lightning protection industry for assistance after lightning strikes repeatedly damaged the ovens and computers that the facility relies upon for their daily activities.  The NPFS facility is located on top of the Kenscoff mountain range at an elevations of over 5000 ft.  Each year severe thunderstorms bring damage to the structures on the orphanage’s 25 acre compound.  More than 400 children depend on the facility for food, housing and education.

LSA members visited the site in July 2013 and developed a plan to improve the facility’s vulnerability to lightning.  This is a unique opportunity for our industry to give back to the community and improve the lives of these disadvantaged youngsters.  In January 2016 a team of eight (8) installers will travel to Haiti to install lightning protection on four of the most critical structures on the site.  They will also perform upgrades to the substandard electrical grounding around the compound.  The total budget for this endeavor is $42,000 which includes materials, travel expenses, tools and shipping costs.

This endeavor needs your support.  Donations of lightning protection, grounding and surge suppression equipment are needed as well as cash to fund the travel expenses.  Please consider joining in this worthy project by choosing one of the Sponsorship categories below:

Sponsorship levels

Platinum              $2,500                                   _____

Gold                      $1,500                                   _____

Silver                     $750                                       _____

Bronze                  $500                                       _____

Friend                   $250                                       _____

Crew Member  $1,600   (8 needed)               _____

1/2 Crew Member  $800                                 _____

Tool Kit $500       (8 needed)                         _____

 Instructions for Sending Supplies and Cash Donations

Lightning Protection Equipment donations, relief supplies and miscellaneous donations (medical supplies, toys for orphans, etc) should be shipped to:

The Lightning Safety Alliance/ECLE

24 Lanson Drive

Winsted, CT  06098

Please mark boxes “Attn: Jennifer Morgan “Haiti project” and include packing list to itemize materials with $ value for each donated item.  Tax-deduction receipts for the Haiti Orphanage project donations will be provided by Our Little Brothers & Sisters USA office. Cash donations must be sent to above address, payable to: “Our Little Brothers & Sisters” with “Haiti/Gena Heragty Kenscoff L.P. project” in check memo.

For more information visit:  www.lightningsafe.org  or contact Kim Loehr at 804-314-8955 or kiml@lightning.org.

The “Inconvenient” Truth about Lightning Safety.

July 13, 2015 — At this writing, 17 people have died from lightning strikes in the United States this year. The National Weather Service (NWS) has stressed that all of these deaths were “avoidable” with most victims being just steps away from a safe place. The NWS says the death count is disturbing for another reason, too, as the number of deaths is double the average number of year-to-date lightning fatalities (8.8) over the past five years (2010-2014).

Why the reason for the increased number of lightning fatalities? No none knows for sure, but there is a common thread that links most lightning injuries and deaths; and that thread is behavior. Because lightning is the force of nature that most people experience, most of the time, apathy about the risk leads to risky behavior. It’s human nature to want to finish the yard work, catch the next fish, walk the dog on schedule, or continue the volleyball game, despite the darkening skies and brewing storm. Unfortunately, these ordinary, everyday activities end up being the risky behavior that sets the stage for the vast majority of lightning deaths and injuries.

Since there is no safe place outdoors in a thunderstorm, you’d think lightning safety would be as easy as, “When thunder roars, go indoors!” Unfortunately, safety gets complicated by the myths and misconceptions that abound about lightning; including dangerous ideas like:

LPI is working with partner groups across the country to promote lightning safety for people, property and places.

“Rubber soles help protect you from lightning.”

“Lying flat on the ground or assuming the lightning crouch position will keep you safe during a storm.”

“Standing under a tree is safer than being out in the open.”

“Lightning is only attracted by metal, so I’m safe if put my cell phone away.”

“Lightning only strikes the tallest objects.”

“I’m safe if I don’t see clouds or rain.”

Unfortunately, the above misconceptions are still circulating among the masses, hence still putting people at risk.

Oscar Wilde is known for having said, “The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

The pure and simple truth about lightning safety is that it’s simple, yet inconvenient. It’s inconvenient to change your plans if the weather forecasts calls for thunderstorms. It’s inconvenient to interrupt the best golf game of your life to seek safe shelter (enclosed building, car or sturdy structure), from the threatening skies. It’s inconvenient to wait 30 minutes for a storm to pass before heading outside again.  (And, on a personal note, it was inconvenient for me to shutdown my computer and interrupt this blog post while I waited for an afternoon storm to pass through my area! )

So now that we understand and admit the “inconvenient truth” about lightning safety, how do we change the behavior to end the preventable injuries and deaths? We enlighten, we remind and we continue to nag the folks about the underrated dangers of lightning!

The Weather-Ready Nation (WRN) Team is urging Ambassador organizations to engage their members and stakeholders to stress the dangers of lightning.  So why not “Be a  Force of Nature”  this summer? Join LPI in the lightning safety conversation. Please share these resources and key messages to help build lightning safe communities across the country!

Call to action: Join the conversation using hashtags:   #LightningSafety   #SummerSafety*

Main NWS Lightning Safety Website:
http://www.weather.gov/lightning

Shortened URL:  bit.ly/NWSlightning

Understanding Lightning: http://1.usa.gov/1FCBomY

LPI Lightning Safety Resources: http://lightning.org/lsa-week/

WRN Key Messages to Share: 

* Lightning deaths are already double those than at this time last year.

* ALL of these deaths were avoidable.

* There is no safe place outside. You must go inside a sturdy building or get ina hard-topped car with the windows rolled up.

* As soon as you can hear thunder or see lightning you are in danger.

* Do NOT seek shelter under a tree!

* Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from the storm.

* Don’t WAIT… When thunder roars, go indoors!

Remember to plan your activities so you don’t get caught outside in a thunderstorm. If there are thunderstorms in the forecast, make sure you can quickly get to a safe shelter or reschedule the outdoor activity.

 

Mitigation Partners Team-Up for “Protect Your Home in a FLASH” Video to Help Educate Homeowners about Reducing Dangerous and Costly Lightning Losses

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week Underscores Hazard of Lightning to Life and Property

Maryville, MO – June 25, 2015 – The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI), a not-for-profit dedicated to promoting lightning safety, awareness and education has teamed up with the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® to produce a new segment for the Protect Your Home in a FLASH video series. The video, narrated by former CNN Bureau Chief John Zarrella and produced by FLASH and CDB Productions, Inc., emphasizes the costly and often dangerous problems lightning can cause for homeowners and explains how lightning protection systems can help mitigate against this common, yet often underrated weather threat.

“We are excited to add this lightning protection segment to our current Protect Your Home in a FLASH video series,” said FLASH president and CEO, Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “With topics including earthquake mitigation, flooding, hurricane preparedness and more, lightning mitigation is a necessary and valuable consumer education tool.”

The four minute video is being released in conjunction with annual Lightning Safety Awareness Week, to provide information about lightning’s destructive nature and combat misconceptions about the common weather peril. Lightning associated with thunderstorms and sometimes tornadoes can pose a variety of problems for homes and buildings. Lightning’s extreme electrical energy can induce destructive power surges through home circuitry and appliances, burn holes in CSST gas piping, explode brick and roofing materials and ignite deadly home fires. For homeowners who don’t want to play the odds with lightning, a professional installed lightning protection system is a viable solution.

“Against the backdrop of lightning fires responsible for destroying the homes of Sir Richard Branson on Necker Island in 2011 and most recently, Lou Holtz’s property in Orlando, LPI is seizing Lightning Safety Awareness Week to remind homeowners of the important role lightning protection systems can play in preventing property loss from a common weather concern,” said Kim Loehr, director of communications for LPI.

The Protect Your Home in a FLASH video reveals how a lightning protection system provides a low-resistance network to safely intercept lightning’s harmful electricity and direct it to ground without impact to the structure or occupants. The video also includes a homeowner testimonial and important consumer information including guidelines for ensuring lightning protection materials and installation methods comply with national safety standards.

Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSL53ZDQxy0  or http://lightning.org/learn-more/watch-learn/#video-13 to view the Protect Your Home in a FLASH lightning mitigation video.

 About the Lightning Protection Institute

The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is a not-for-profit, nationwide group founded in 1955 to promote lightning safety, awareness and education and is a leading resource for lightning protection and system requirements. Visit the LPI website at http://lightning.org/ for more information about lightning protection system requirements and how to locate a LPI-certified installer in your area.

About FLASH

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is the country’s leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters. FLASH collaborates with more than 120 innovative and diverse partners that share its vision of making America a more disaster‐resilient nation including: BASF, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida Division of Emergency Management, The Home Depot®, International Code Council, Kohler® Generators, National Weather Service, Portland Cement Association, Simpson Strong-Tie®, State Farm™, and USAA®. In 2008, FLASH® and Disney opened the interactive weather experience StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes® in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Learn more about FLASH and gain access to its free consumer resources by visiting www.flash.org or calling (877) 221- SAFE (7233). Also, get timely safety tips to ensure that you and your family are protected from natural and manmade disasters by subscribing to the FLASH blog – Protect Your Home in a FLASH, and following the FLASH Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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Partners Gather in NH to Recognize Park for StormReady Efforts at 15th Annual Lightning Safety Awareness Week Kickoff

GLEN, N.H., June 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Partners from the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI), the Lightning Safety Alliance (LSA) the National Weather Service (NWS) and Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center gathered at  Storyland Amusement Park https://www.storylandnh.com in Glen, NH for educational events to kickoff Lightning Safety Awareness Week. The 15th annual campaign, which begins today, was started by NOAA and NWS in 2001 to help increase awareness about the dangers of lightning and provide the public with safety information to help protect families from lightning’s underrated dangers. See http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/

Leon the Lightning Lion and Dr. Lightning kickoff Lightning Safety Awareness Week at Storyland Park in NH to emphasize the importance of protecting people, property and places against nature's underrated hazard.

The 2015 campaign theme of “Building Lightning Safe Communities,” emphasizes the importance of protecting people, property and places against the deadly, yet often underrated lightning threat.

Team members, including “Dr. Lightning” and “Leon the Lightning Lion” began events with a morning press conference to recognize Storyland for its StormReadyefforts which support the Building Lightning Safe Communities mission. (Storyland has equipped many of its buildings and structures with lightning protection systems to help safeguard patrons and workers from lightning’s dangers.)

Weekend events in NH also included a presentation at Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center and educational outreach at the Mount Washington Road Race Expo.

About the Lightning Protection Institute
The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is a not-for-profit, nationwide group founded in 1955 to promote lightning safety, awareness and education and is a leading resource for lightning protection information and system requirements. Visit the LPI website at http://lightning.org for more information.

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150621/224548

CONTACT: Kim Loehr, Director of Communications / LPI/LSA / kiml@lightning.org or kaloehr@aol.com / 804-314-8955

 

Lightning’s Dangers Hit Home in Eye-Opening PSA

 Protecting people and property is theme emphasized for Lightning Safety Awareness Week

NORTH CONWAY, N.H., June 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI), a non-profit dedicated to promoting lightning safety, awareness and protection education, is unveiling an eye-opening new public service announcement today to kick off national Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 21-27. The spot, produced by Richmond-based branding, marketing and PR firm Madison+Main, emphasizes the importance of protecting people, property and places against the deadly, yet often underrated lightning threat.

LPI’s objective for its 2015 PSA is to discourage apathy about lightning’s dangers and combat misconceptions about the common weather peril. The PSA also highlights LPI’s “Building Lightning Safe Communities” campaign theme, encouraging viewers to consider best practices for personal safety and the installation of lightning protection systems to safeguard their structures.

“NOAA and the National Weather Service began the lightning safety awareness campaign in 2001 and have led the effort for personal safety,” said Kim Loehr, director of communications for LPI. “In recent years, LPI has helped expand the campaign by emphasizing protection for people, property and places through our Building Lightning Safe Communities initiative.”

Lightning associated with thunderstorms and sometimes tornadoes can pose a variety of fire hazards. Lightning’s extreme electrical charge can induce destructive power surges through home circuitry, burn holes in CSST gas piping, explode brick and roofing materials and ignite home fires. For homeowners who don’t want to play the odds with lightning, a professionally installed lightning protection system is a viable idea.

“Fortunately, the threat that lightning poses to property can be easily addressed with the installation of a lightning protection system,” said Jennifer Morgan, spokesperson for the non-profit, Lightning Safety Alliance (LSA). “A lightning protection system provides a low-resistance network to safely intercept lightning’s harmful electricity and direct it to ground without impact to the structure or occupants.”

U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated 22,600 fires sparked by lightning which are responsible for deaths, injuries and millions of dollars in direct property damage each year. The NFPA 780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems provides lightning protection system requirements to help safeguard structures from fire risks and damage associated with the lightning hazard. http://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/document-information-pages?mode=code&code=780

See http://lightning.org/lsa-week/ and http://lightning.org/learn-more/watch-learn/ to view the Lightning Protection Institute’s ‘News Reporter’ PSA. For more information or to obtain a copy of the PSA, contact Kim Loehr at kiml@lightning.org. To locate a LPI-certified lightning protection system installer in your area, click here.

About the Lightning Protection Institute
The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is a not-for-profit, nationwide group founded in 1955 to promote lightning safety, awareness and education and is a leading resource for lightning protection information and system requirements. Visit the LPI website at http://lightning.org for more information.

About the Lightning Safety Alliance
The Lightning Safety Alliance (LSA) is a non-profit, national league of lightning protection professionals and consumers dedicated to the promotion of lightning protection and lightning safety. Visit the LSA website at http://www.lightningsafetyalliance.org/ for more information.

 

CONTACT: Kim Loehr, Director of Communications / LPI/LSA / kiml@lightning.org or kaloehr@aol.com / 804-314-8955

 

Lightning Safety Awareness Week 2015: “Building Lightning Safe Communities” to protect people, property & places!

Dr. Lightning and Leon the Lightning Lion are joining forces during Lightning Safety Awareness Week to emphasize the importance of protecting people, property and places against lightning’s dangers.

Lightning Protection Institute to Kickoff 15th Annual Lightning Safety Awareness Week

Building Lightning Safe Communities initiative brings fun and educational events to NH

NORTH CONWAY, N.H., June 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI), is partnering with the National Weather Service (NWS) to organize several educational and awareness-driven launch events for Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 21-27. The 2015 campaign theme of “Building Lightning Safe Communities,” emphasizes the importance of protecting people, property and places against the deadly, yet often underrated lightning threat.

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week is drawing near and Leon the Lightning Lion reminds the public to play it safe during thunderstorm season.The 2015 campaign theme of "Building Lightning Safe Communities," emphasizes the importance of protecting people, property and places against the deadly, yet often underrated lightning threat.

Members of the media and the public are invited to attend the official kickoff events in North Conway and Glen, NH on June 19 and 20.

An educational presentation will be held at the Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center, located in North Conway, NH (2779 White Mountain Highway), on Friday, June 19 at 7:00 p.m. The Mount Washington Observatory is a nonprofit, member-supported organization with a mission to advance understanding of the natural systems that create Earth’s weather and climate. Its mountaintop weather station, located at the highest point in the Northeastern U.S.,has been dubbed “Home of the World’s Worst Weather” which makes it the perfect setting to raise awareness about lightning safety. Experts and speakers from across the country will provide short talks on a wide range of lightning topics including: lightning safety, medical effects of lightning victims, lightning protection, lightning damage statistics and a demo of a lightning simulator machine called, “Protection Test House.” Attendees will also enjoy the opportunity to connect live with the Observatory’s mountaintop weather station staff.

A meet and greet reception begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by presentations from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m. Admission is free and light refreshments will be provided for attendees. https://www.mountwashington.org/visit-us/weather-discovery-center/

On Saturday, June 20, the official Lightning Safety Awareness Week kickoff will be held at Storyland Amusement Park https://www.storylandnh.com in Glen, NH from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The Lightning Safety Awareness Team will begin events with a press conference to recognize Storyland for its StormReady efforts which support the Building Lightning Safe Community’s mission. (Storyland has lightning protection systems on many of its buildings to help safeguard patrons and workers from lightning’s dangerous electricity.) The event will cater to children and families with special appearances by “Dr. Lightning” and “Leon the Lightning Lion” who will share safety materials, information and free giveaways.

LPI is also partnering with the Lightning Safety Alliance http://www.lightningsafetyalliance.org/ in sponsoring the Mount Washington Road Race and expo eventshttp://mountwashingtonroadrace.com scheduled for 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 20.

The NWS began the annual campaign in 2001 to help increase awareness about the dangers of lightning and provide the public with safety information to help protect families from lightning’s underrated dangers. http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/

The 2015 campaign will focus on both personal safety, as well as minimizing damage to property. Statistics from the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.),http://www.iii.org/ cite lightning as responsible for millions of dollars in homeowners insurance claims each year, with costs reaching $1 billion from 2010-2012.

(According to the NWS, the 2013 lightning death toll of 23 set a new low record for lightning deaths in a single year—a contrast to the deadliest year in 1943 when 432 Americans were struck and killed.)

About the Lightning Protection Institute
The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is a not-for-profit, nationwide group founded in 1955 to promote lightning safety, awareness and education and is a leading resource for lightning protection information and system requirements. Visit the LPI website at http://lightning.org for more information.

 

CONTACT: Kim Loehr, Director of Communications / LPI/LSA / kiml@lightning.org or kaloehr@aol.com / 804-314-8955 | Michelle Cruz (NH contact) / Director of Education, Mount Washington Observatory / mcruz@mtwashington.org / 603-356-2137 ext. 225 | John Jensenius (NH contact) / Lightning Safety Specialist, NOAA/NWS / john.jensenius@noaa.gov / 207-688-3221 ext. 223

 

Public Reminded about Dangers of Lightning and Surge Protection Limitations

Get the Facts to Separate Myths from Truths about Lightning Protection!

During National Electrical Safety Month, LPI raises awareness for lightning, an overlooked electrical hazard

HARTFORD, Conn., May 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — May is National Electrical Safety Month and the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is joining the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) to raise awareness about the importance of electrical safety—including lightning, an underrated and often forgotten electrical hazard.

Lightning is the rapid discharge of atmospheric electricity that can pack up to 200 kA of electric energy (100 million volts of power). A lightning strike to an unprotected structure can be disastrous and a single incident can cost thousands of dollars, with losses ranging from damage to expensive electronics to fires that destroy entire buildings. A single surge protection device or “whole-house” arrester is not sufficient to protect a structure from a direct lightning strike packing extreme electric energy. A grounding network, commonly known as a “lightning protection system” must be implemented, as well to provide safe and effective protection against lightning.

“The electrical ground installed by the electrician for your structure is there to protect the internal workings of the electrical system for everyday electricity—it’s not designed to handle the mega electricity that lightning can pack,” said Bud VanSickle, executive director for the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI). “Even though the majority of surges are created from large appliances switching on and off within a structure or power grid switching from the electric utility company, lightning is typically responsible for the most powerful and destructive types of surges.”

Prior to the age of electronics, the threat to structures from lightning was primarily fire-related. Enhanced communications lines, power and generation systems and gas and water piping have since created induction problems for today’s structures, allowing lightning’s access through energized lines or system grounds. Decades ago, the introduction of low voltage wiring and electronically controlled building components presented a new vulnerability to lightning. To address these concerns, lightning protection codes and standards were updated in the 1990’s; adding more provisions for grounding and new criteria for lightning arresters and surge protection devices (SPD’s).

“Today’s lightning protection network takes a total package approach which includes a system to ground the structure, a primary SPD (or SPD’s) for the service entrance and sometimes secondary protection at the point of use for high-end equipment or appliances,” said VanSickle. “It’s important that the lightning protection system complies with national safety Standards of NFPA 780 and UL 96A to address requirements for full protection.”

The NFPA and UL safety Standards for lightning protection systems employ practical and tested solutions to protect a structure, its occupants, contents, equipment and operations.  A complete system includes: strike termination devices, conductors, ground terminals, interconnecting bonding to minimize side flashing, and surge protection devices for incoming power, data and communication lines to prevent harmful electrical surges. Additional connectors, fittings or bonding for CSST gas piping may be required and surge protection devices for vulnerable appliances may be needed, as well.

Lightning protection is also not a “do-it-yourself” project. Only experienced and reputable UL-listed and LPI-certified lightning protection contractors should install these systems to ensure materials and methods comply with safety Standards.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) sponsors National Electrical Safety Month each May to increase public awareness of electrical hazards. For more information about ESFI and electrical safety, visit www.esfi.org.

LPI is a not-for-profit, nationwide group founded in 1955 to promote lightning safety, awareness and protection education. The organization provides a certification program to quality competence in lightning protection installation, design and inspection. For facts about common lightning myths and misconceptions, view LPI’s infographic at http://lightning.org/wpcontent/uploads/2014/12/LSAW-Infographic.jpg  Also visit the LPI website at http://lightning.org/ for more information or to find a qualified lightning protection installer in your area.

The Lightning Safety Alliance (LSA) is a non-profit national business corporation which provides educational programing on lightning protection and lightning safety. LSA supports the efforts of LPI in its mission to reduce lightning-related deaths and property losses. Visit www.lightningsafetyalliance.org for more information.

 

 

It’s Thunderstorm Season and Time to Separate Fact from Fiction about Lightning Protection!

Myths abound about lightning and lightning protection, so it's important to separate fact from fiction. Thunderstorm season calls for an up-close look at some frequently asked questions.

Myths abound about lightning and lightning protection, so it’s important to separate fact from fiction. Thunderstorm season is  a perfect time for an up-close look at a few frequently asked questions about lightning protection systems.

Myths continue to abound about lightning and the science of lightning protection. It’s not always easy to know the facts when misinformation is circulated on the internet and through social media. Now that thunderstorm season is in full swing, home and business owners can benefit from accurate information and reality reminders about lightning protection. Here are four answers to frequently asked questions to help separate fact from fiction about lightning protection systems.

Q. Aren’t lightning rods a thing of the past?

Lightning protection systems are installed more today than ever before. According to Underwriters Laboratories, lightning accounts for more than one billion dollars annually in structural damage to buildings in the U.S. This statistic does not include costs due to loss of business, downtime and repairs. Since today’s homes and buildings are equipped with a variety of sensitive electronics, lightning protection systems serve an important purpose. Protecting occupants, structures and critical systems is an important part of the building design phase, which is why construction planners are specifying more systems. Lightning protection systems increase a structure’s sustainability against a common and often costly, weather threat.

Q. Don’t trees protect a structure against lightning

No, trees don’t provide protection from lightning striking your home or business. Actually, lightning can side-flash from a tree and hit a nearby structure, so sometimes trees around a structure and provide an easy entry for lightning’s destructive electricity. Lightning traveling along tree roots can enter a structure by jumping onto nearby telephone, cable and electrical lines, introducing harmful surges. Lightning can also injure a tree from a direct strike that can cause heavy limbs to split and fall onto a nearby structure. Lightning kills and damages more trees than we can account for in the U.S., so unless a tree is equipped with a lightning protection system, it can be extremely vulnerable to damage—with the nearby structure vulnerable, as well.

Q. Isn’t a whole-house surge arrester enough protection against lightning?

Surge protection is only one element of a complete lightning protection system. Since lightning can pack 100 million volts of electricity, a strike to an unprotected structure can be disastrous and a single incident can cost thousands of dollars, with losses ranging from damage to expensive electronics to fires that destroy entire buildings. Unfortunately, no surge protection device or “whole-house” arrester alone can protect a structure from a direct strike packing lightning’s mega electricity. A grounding network for lightning (lightning protection system) must be implemented to provide a safe, conductive path to discharge lightning’s electricity. Surge protection + the grounding network = a complete lightning protection system.

Q. Can’t I install the lightning protection myself?

This is not an experiment you want to attempt! Lightning protection is a highly specialized trade that is governed by industry safety Standards. Design and installation is typically not within the scope of expertise held by general contractors, roofers or even electricians, which is why the work is typically subcontracted out to specialists. Trained experts like LPI-certified contractors that specialize in lightning protection and utilize UL-listed components and equipment should be hired to design and install these systems. The highly conductive copper and aluminum materials used are not readily available in hardware stores and design and installation for systems is not a do-it-yourself project.

Learn more about lightning protection system installation by viewing LPI’s short video at: http://lightning.org/learn-more/watch-learn/#video-6

 

Weather-Ready Ambassadors Can be a “Force of Nature” for Lightning Preparedness!

lightningheadlinespicMarch 2015 marks the one-year anniversary of the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation (WRN) Ambassador initiative and more than 1,300 Ambassadors have shared stories of how they’re helping to build a weather-ready nation. The WRN Ambassador initiative is NOAA’s effort to recognize partners who are working to improve the nation’s “readiness, responsiveness, and overall resilience against extreme weather, water and climate events.”

LPI was happy to weigh-in to share industry success stories about our lightning protection and lightning safety initiatives. And we were happy to see links to our success stories included in a recent WRN Newsletter that shared updates about our “Building Lightning Safe Communities” efforts.

LPI’s commitment as a WRN Ambassador means that we are working hard to improve resilience against the lightning threat–which is often underrated in terms of severe weather concerns. The WRN initiative asks its Ambassadors to assist in minimizing the effects of natural disasters by taking the following actions:

* Promote WRN messages and themes to stakeholders
* Engage with NOAA personnel on potential collaboration opportunities
* Share success stories of preparedness and resiliency
* Serve as an example by educating re: preparedness
* Serve as a “change agent and leader” in the community

LPI will be heeding the WRN call to action next week at its 83rd Annual Lightning Protection Conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville. Industry members will participate in educational programs, speaker presentations and moderated breakout sessions that will provide professional enrichment and many, many opportunities for collaboration. Attendees will hear and see examples of lightning protection case studies, partner reports, important scientific findings and evidence of how LPI’s “Building Lightning Safe Communities” initiative is making a difference to improve lightning safety and reduce lightning losses in communities across the nation.

Unlike other weather perils, lightning knows few geographic boundaries and is a leading storm-related hazard responsible for too many unnecessary deaths and injuries and an excess of preventable property losses. The 83rd Annual LPI/ULPA Lightning Protection Conference will provide a forum for attendees to learn how they can Be a Force of Nature by understanding the lightning risk, taking action, spreading education and serving as an Ambassador example!

So let’s get ready to be a force in Nashville!
Y’all ready for this?