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?

Weather Gone Wild! Is Thundersnow (and Lightning) Making Your Winter More Frightening?

thundersnowFebruary 16, 2015 – It’s estimated that lightning strikes the United States over 20 million times each year. Given this amount of lightning activity, shouldn’t we expect to see a little lightning and thunder in the dead of winter? Interestingly enough, weather reports across the country have tallied quite a few incidents of “thundersnow” (a rare weather phenomenon that brings the unusual combination of thunder, lightning and snow) this winter. While hype about the phenomenon seems to be on the rise, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), thundersnow is so rare that it only occurs in less than one percent of observed snowstorms.

“Clouds are low in the winter so you don’t get that upward vertical motion that you get with your warm sector of thunder storms in the summer. It’s rare to have thunder and lightning in the winter. It usually means it’s a strong intense winter storm or a blizzard,” explained Kate Mantych, WDTV 5 News Meteorologist.

So what causes this weather phenomenon? The NWS explains that thundersnow occurs when lightning forms after an electric charge separation process in updrafts and downdrafts created inside a convective system. Enhanced air instability, a quick temperature change from surface to cloud, or a charge separation process can all trigger lightning and the ensuing thundersnow.

Since thundersnow is similar to a typical thunderstorm, it’s important to enlist the same safety precautions for spring and summer weather events. Staying indoors and away from trees still applies during thundersnow. Lightning occurring during thundersnow has been known to zap trees, homes, buildings and traffic lights and wide-spread power outages are not uncommon in these storms.  Restoration and repair of power lines in severe winter weather can be especially tricky when heavy snows impact travel and road accessibility. Thunderstorm conditions during winter storms can be harder to predict, as well. And while the average bolt of lightning can carry 100 million volts of electrical power, it’s virtually impossible to predict when and where lightning will hit and what its target will be. Lightning can strike miles ahead of a parent thunderstorm and linger several minutes after a storm leaves a specific area—which is why the NWS dubs lightning as “the first thunderstorm hazard to arrive and the last to leave.”

So just what is all of this lightning doing to our homes and buildings?  Well, here are a few scary statistics.

Each year, lightning fires are responsible for an estimated:

$450 million in home property damage

$108 million in non-residential property damage

$28 million in damages to storage facilities

$22 million in damages to places of assembly (churches and houses of worship)

$19 million in damages to hotels and motels

$15 million in mercantile and business properties (offices, shops and department stores)

$15 million in industrial and manufacturing facilities

$3 million in miscellaneous properties

(Source: National Fire Protection Association NFPA)

Lightning is an unpredictable weather threat, but mitigation doesn’t have to be hit or miss. The highly conductive materials used in a lightning protection system provide a low resistance path and grounding network to safely dissipate lightning’s dangerous electricity. When a lightning protection network is installed in accordance with national safety standards, lightning’s harmful electricity is intercepted and directed to ground without impact to the structure, occupants or contents. So whether the threat strikes in spring, summer, fall or even winter, lightning protection systems can safeguard vulnerable structures against nature’s underrated fire risk. Think of lightning protection as an insurance policy that provides an ounce of prevention against weather gone wild.

Lightning Protection for Storage Facilities Eliminates the “What if?”

storagebldg2

Lightning protection systems can be installed for large and small storage facilities, both during and after construction to safeguard structures and contents against surges, fire and explosions.

Lightning protection systems can be installed for large and small storage facilities, both during and after construction to safeguard structures and contents against surges, fire and explosions.

November 17, 2014 – What if you lost your valuables in a fire where no one was around for miles to report evidence of smoke or a blaze? Each year, millions of structures are damaged or destroyed by lightning.  While all types of structures should evaluate their lightning risk, storage buildings and facilities containing flammable substances and fire-susceptible materials can pose special concerns. Lightning strikes to these structures can ignite flammable vapors, resulting in a large-scale fires or explosions—losses that can be prevented when proper precautions for lightning protection are employed. With reports of lightning incidents at storage facilities and portable structures on the rise, insurance providers are taking a closer look at lightning protection options for these structures.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), lightning strikes cost nearly $1 billion in insured loses in 2012.  The I.I.I. puts the average lightning paid-claim at $6,400 in 2012, up 25 percent from 2011. I.I.I. reports state that damage caused by lightning, such as a fire, is covered by standard homeowners and business insurance policies. According to I.I.I. there is also coverage for lightning damage under the comprehensive portion of an auto policy. However, not all policies provide coverage for power surges that are the direct result of lightning striking a structure—which is why property owners should check with their insurance provider for coverage specifics related to lightning.

Fires caused by lightning represent a serious threat, but the risk is often overlooked by property owners.  A single bolt of lightning can generate up to 200 kA of energy, which can spark fires, damage roofing or cause surging through electrical circuitry.  A lightning strike to an unprotected structure or storage facility can cause catastrophic damage to the building and its contents.  Fortunately, there are relatively simple and inexpensive measures that can be taken to substantially reduce the chances of lightning-related damage.  Most types of storage structures are susceptible to lightning damage. According to the National Weather Service, there are three main ways that lightning enters buildings: 1) a direct strike, 2) through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure, and 3) through the ground. Lightning can also travel through structural steel framing and reinforcing rods in concrete walls or flooring. On the outside of the structure, lightning can travel along the outer shell and may follow conductive metal vents, roof drainage elements and external supports as it seeks a path to ground.  None of these building elements are designed to carry lightning without incurring damage.   

Property owners needn’t play the odds or risk losing their valued possessions to lightning.  A professionally-installed lightning protection system which meets U.S. safety standards of LPI, NFPA and UL will prevent damage and impact to a self-storage facility by providing a safe, low-resistance path into the earth for lightning’s electrical energy.

Lightning protection is one of the least expensive security measures you can purchase for your structures and storage facilities, yet it offers the best type of insurance—peace of mind to protect your property and valuables. If you don’t want to play the lightning odds, consider a lightning protection system. And if you do opt for lightning protection, don’t forget to contact your insurance provider to check your eligibility for base rate credits or discounts for having the system installed.

It’s Fire Prevention Week & Time to Remind Homeowners about Lightning; the Forgotten Fire Threat!

LPI began the "Building Lightning Safe Communities" initiative several years ago in Texas with Bonded Lightning Protection Co. LPI's new PSA features a fire chief as the "face" of its lightning safety campaign.

LPI began the “Building Lightning Safe Communities” initiative several years ago in Texas with Bonded Lightning Protection Co. LPI’s new PSA features a fire chief as the “face” of its lightning safety campaign.

October 8, 2014 – The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has sponsored Fire Prevention Week since 1922, which is believed to be the longest running public health and safety observance on record. Since 1922, the country has seen huge progress in the fire safety movement with the construction of fire-resistant buildings and improvements in fire suppression techniques. Unfortunately, fire still poses a significant threat to homeowners, as evident by these recently reported statistics from NFPA:

* A fire department in the U.S. responds to a fire every 25 seconds
* A residential fire occurs every 85 seconds
* Home fires account for $7 billion in property loss

But did you know that lightning poses a significant fire threat to homeowners, too? Lightning is an underrated and often forgotten fire threat, even though the most powerful electrical surges are caused by lightning. A typical lightning strike can pack up to 200 kA of electric energy (100 million volts of power), so it’s no surprise that a strike to an unprotected structure can pack a mean punch that can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars in repairs. According to a 2013 NFPA report, titled “Lightning Fires and Lightning Strikes,” fire departments in the U.S. respond to an estimated 22,600 lightning fires each year. These fires are responsible for civilian and firefighter deaths, injuries and approximately $451 in preventable property damage. If you Google the words, “lightning and fire” you’ll see news reports of these lightning incidents throughout the country.

Fortunately, a lightning protection system can provide a grounding network to protect a structure from these deadly fires, which is why lightning protection is meeting the needs of safety, technology and design. National safety standards for lightning protection (LPI 175, NFPA 780 and UL-96A) specify tested and effective 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.

LPI recognizes the NFPA 780 Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems as the most comprehensive resource for reducing lightning risks. The Standard includes 12 chapters and 14 annex sections to provide a thorough overview of design requirements and applications for lightning protection systems.

Fire Prevention Week is also the perfect time to remind folks about LPI’s newly released public service announcement which spotlights the severity of lightning’s destruction and promotes protection resources in conjunction with the Building Lightning Safe Communities campaign. Appropriately, the PSA features a fire chief as the expert “voice” to promote the campaign safety message. To view the PSA click here http://lightning.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/LSAW-PSA-v2.mp4

More information about fire safety and NFPA’s annual campaign is available at www.firepreventionweek.org.

This October, help LPI build lightning safe communities! Visit http://www.lightningsafe.org/partnerships.html to learn how you can make a difference!