Advancing lightning safe communities as a Weather Ready Nation (WRN) ambassador

March 2018 marks the fourth anniversary of the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation (WRN) Ambassador initiative launch and its effort to recognize community partners working to improving the nation’s “readiness, responsiveness and overall resilience against extreme weather, water and climate events.” The WRN initiative asks its Ambassadors to assist in minimizing the effects of natural disasters by taking the following actions:

LPI is helping to build lightning safe communities with fellow Weather Ready Nation (WRN) ambassadors, Owlie Skywarn and Leon the Lightning Safety Lion.

* 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

As a WRN Ambassador, the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is committed to improving resilience against the lightning threat—often underrated among other severe weather concerns. Unlike other weather perils, lightning knows few geographic boundaries and is a leading storm-related hazard responsible for unnecessary deaths, debilitating injuries and an excess of preventable property losses. LPI’s recent efforts to help build lightning safe communities in the U.S. include:

  • Supporting more insurance incentives for safety-standard-compliant lightning protection systems (LPS).
  • Working to increase recognition of code and safety standard-compliant LPS.
  • Encouraging expanded risk assessment measures for the lightning hazard in the building development process.
  • Sharing “Building Lightning Safe Communities” initiative resources to improve safety for people, places and property.

Once again, LPI will heed the WRN call to action at next week’s 86th Annual Lightning Protection Conference in Singer Island, FL, where industry members will participate in education programs, scientific presentations, workshops and collaboration sessions designed to enlighten participants about various aspects of the lightning hazard. Attendees will also learn 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.

So, let’s get ready to be a force of nature in Singer Island and don our WRN Ambassador hats to listen and learn more about the lightning risk. Then, let’s take risk prevention a step further by serving as ambassadors to share enlightenment and help build lightning safe communities in our own cities and towns for 2018 and beyond!

Building Lightning Safe Communities: an architect’s perspective

LPI is an authorized provider for the AIA Registered “Lightning Protection 101” Program, a Continuing Education Course that provides a review of safety standard-compliant lightning protection system design and application.

The Lightning Protection Institute is working to shine the spotlight on the lightning peril and expand its “building lightning safe communities” initiative through outreach efforts with mitigation-minded partners; including architects, engineers and risk-management stakeholders.

This month, LPI reached out to experts in the architecture community to get their thoughts about lightning and lightning protection. For our January blog, LPI is excited to share a few highlights from Kim Loehr’s  interview with a talented and engaging, innovator, Michael Lingerfelt.

Building Lightning Safe Communities: Architect Q&A  

Michael Lingerfelt, FAIA, LEED AP, President of Architecture and Design Lingerfelt International

As a registered architect with over 37 years of experience in design and project delivery, Michael Lingerfelt’s work has included architectural services for Marriott Hotels and Disney Theme Park Attractions. He is the former chair of the American Institute of Architects Disaster Assistance Committee, where he instructed over 1,800 architects, engineers, building officials, and inspectors as a California Emergency Management Agency Safety Assessment Program Trainer, and provided safety evaluations following hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and floods. In 2012, Lingerfelt was named to the prestigious American Institute of Architects College of Fellows for his efforts in advocating that architects should serve the public surrounding a disaster.

Q. How familiar are you with lightning protection?

A. Having lived in central Florida, I’ve witnessed lightning’s power first-hand; including the time I experienced lightning striking six feet away from me at Animal Kingdom. The strike was so stunning; it left me deaf for a few hours! So when it comes to the built environment, I understand the role that lightning protection systems play and consider these systems to be a critical component for many architecture and engineering projects.   

Q. As an architect, what would you like to learn about lightning protection systems?

A. I’d like to understand more about the ‘rules of engagement’ for lightning protection design; what are the variables I can play with–without compromising safety requirements? When presented with a lightning protection plan, I’ve sometimes found myself thinking: there’s got to be a better way to troubleshoot design while still satisfying safety standard requirements. This is why it’s helpful to bring the lightning protection expert into the process early, so that it doesn’t look like an after thought.

Q. Are there design/building trends that you see where lightning protection can play an important role? 

A. Innovation in lightning protection design where components and elements are implemented as functional aspects of the structure are trends I’m seeing and encouraging. It’s great when elements of the lightning protection can be strategically placed to be made part of the construction. For example, it’s ideal when you can make the lightning protection spire part of the Milky Way for the Mission Space project, or when you can strategically implement flat metal plates as a design element of Tibetan culture prayer flags. These are a few design mannerisms I’ve helped replicate for Disney projects. Other exciting projects include the Animal Kingdom Expedition Everest, Hulk at Universal Roller coaster, the Orlando Eye on International Drive and the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom–all of which have incorporated lightning protection using unique, yet safety compliant methods. 

Q. Did you know that LPI provides an AIA registered Continuing Education course for architects? 

A. No, I did not, so I’d recommend work to get the word out to the state AIA chapters and their Allied members! Continuing education is a requirement of architecture license and vital to the health, safety, and welfare of the community. Since most architects look at lightning protection as part of the electrical engineer’s scope, the industry could be better served to convey that lightning protection doesn’t have to compromise the integrity of the designer. Safety is the message that needs to get out, so there’s a need to change the conversation–perhaps stress that lightning protection can be a design element and also play an important part in the function of the building.

Safeguarding the past and preparing for the future: Why lightning protection is important for historic structures

Historic structures possess unique characteristics that typically require elevated levels of scrutiny for insurance, safety, building maintenance and risk management. These thorough levels of examination can delve even deeper depending upon whether the structure is a “certified historic rehabilitation” (eligible for tax credits) or a recognized historic landmark that is a designated part of a property, building or locality.

Anyone who has ever owned, managed, maintained or worked on or around a historic building can appreciate the litany of factors involved when it comes to preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation of these properties. It’s not just age that makes these buildings more expensive to replace or repair after damage has occurred; it’s more typically the design, construction and building components found in historic structures that make them more vulnerable to damage—especially by fire. And as we know, a single bolt of lightning can generate up to 200 kA of electrical energy, making the threat of fire from a direct strike or indirect surge, a serious concern for historic buildings and landmarks.

For property stakeholders concerned about lightning, the National Park Service has released a Lightning Protection Preservation Brief, written by Charles E. Fisher, which graciously references acknowledgements to several LPI members and LPI member companies who contributed information and materials. The 20-page, illustrated document provides lightning protection system (LPS) guidance for property owners and trades involved in the preservation of historic structures. Although lightning protection isn’t necessarily a mandatory requirement just because a building is historic, the brief includes a clear reminder regarding the role of lightning protection for these structures: “As an irreplaceable cultural resource, historic structures at risk of damage or loss from a lightning strike merit protection.”

Safety standard-compliant lightning protection systems are often included in renovations of historic properties to help safeguard these irreplaceable structures from a leading weather threat.

LPI-certified lightning protection specialists can meet the special considerations needed for working on your historic structure or landmark.

Just a single lightning strike can eradicate the heritage and cultural value of an unprotected landmark in an instant; making a sound argument for risk prevention against this common weather hazard.

The document also features a wealth of lightning protection information, including detailed reference sections for the following:

* Maintenance and repair of historic and older LPS

* Inspection and evaluation of LPS on historic properties

* Factors to consider when assessing need for LPS

* Historic preservation guidance re: design/installation of new LPS

* LPS and re-roofing concerns for historic structures

* Historical information re: LPS codes and standards

* Spotlight case studies of historical properties

Since lightning makes no distinction between new or old construction, lightning protection should be a serious consideration in terms of risk management and insurance for all structures—but especially for historic buildings, where irreplaceable items, heritage and cultural values could be eradicated in a fraction of a second, if lightning were to strike.

Agenda Set for 86th Annual Lightning Protection Conference in Singer Island, FL!

The AGENDA is set and registration is underway for the 86th Annual ULPA/LPI Lightning Protection Conference at the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa on February 28 – March 3, 2018. You won’t want to miss the exciting speaker lineup, workshops and conference programs planned for attendees and guests.
The conference is just around the corner, so be sure to book your rooms NOW, as the hotel is completely booked up outside of our group reservation block which closes on January 22, 2018. Our friends at LPI member company, Bonded Lightning Protection of Florida will serve as our industry host for the annual meeting. The 2018 conference programs will include:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
* Industry Updates & Reports
* Education & Speaker Sessions
* Breakout Workshops for Professional Development
* LPI Certification & Testing Sessions
* Networking Opportunities
* Golfing & Social Events
The deadline for rooms and registration is January 22, 2018, so be sure to REGISTER and book your HOTEL RESERVATIONS ASAP!
Details for the annual golfing outing can be found HERE.

Is it time to inject a little lightning into the big weather discussion?

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré was one of the “big weather” voices at last month’s National Disaster Resilience Conference in Atlanta.

The road to building for resilience is paved with many guideposts designed to promote mitigation measures for weather perils like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires. Perils rightfully referred to as “big weather” at last month’s National Disaster Resilience Conference (NDRC) 2017 in Atlanta. Hosted by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), the NDRC signaled FLASH’s 19th year of bringing disaster safety stakeholders together to advance a shared movement to strengthen homes and safeguard families from disasters of all kinds.

In an opening address that set the tone for the big weather deliberations, FLASH President and CEO, Leslie Chapman-Henderson, prepped NDRC participants for a two-day journey with a road map for partner interaction, knowledge exchange and innovative collaboration. Armed with ammo, safety stakeholders hailing from organizations such as ICC, BASF, USAA, ISO and AIA, converged to help Chapman-Henderson steer the conference course. Serving as disaster safety co-pilots, the collective partner organizations helped facilitate programs, panels, and exhibits designed to examine various impacts of big weather. Hearty discussions delved into innovative developments in science, economics, policy, design and construction—trends that are driving resilience. On the heels of an especially rocky and tempestuous disaster season, NDRC’s focus on big weather could not have been timelier.

While probing both challenges and innovations associated with big weather, I couldn’t help but think about lightning and reflect on the hard-earned advancements that LPI and its partners have made in the realm of lightning safety and lightning protection education. And naturally, as an advocate for lightning safety awareness, I couldn’t help but inject a little lightning into the big conversations at NDRC, whenever appropriate.

With the U.S. experiencing more than 40 million lightning strikes each year, it’s no surprise that lightning is a year-round concern for U.S. homes and businesses. In fact, in terms of overall losses, lightning has been known to outrank destruction caused by caused by floods, fires, explosions, earthquakes and vandalism. Just a snapshot of recent events depicting loss of lifedamaged homesloss of businessdamaged infrastructureand widespread property devastation provides a striking glimpse into lightning’s lingering impact. Perhaps more alarming, are recent reports from scientists predicting significant increases in lightning activity.

When we consider that lightning is already the weather peril that affects most of the people, most of the time, doesn’t it deserve a little of the big weather spotlight? With predictions for increased lightning in the mix, wouldn’t it be great if more mitigation partners got out in front of lightning to help promote risk reduction efforts? (HINT: increased insurance incentives for lightning protection systems and expanded risk assessment measures for lightning in the building code development process are two immediate areas where partners can lend support to help move the risk reduction needle.)

LPI shared “Build and Protect – A Blueprint for Architects and Engineers” brochures with NDRC attendees, as a conference literature sponsor.

With a record-breaking disaster season in the rear view mirror, mitigation partners in the realms of science, insurance, policy, and construction are preparing to take their places on the field of weather risk reduction for 2018 and beyond. So, as we huddle for the game play, let’s not forget about lightning! And while we can’t prevent lightning from striking, we can prepare for future events by working to change attitudes about lightning safety and lightning protection. We already know from our successes that education, and preparation are key in reducing lightning deaths, injuries and property losses.

Perhaps retired Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré, said it best while rallying the NDRC troops to action last month. In a short, yet powerful keynote speech, the acknowledged commander of the disaster mitigation movement and author of Leadership in the New Normal, appropriately called the closing play for the Atlanta conference. True to classic Honoré form, the big weather voice got down to brass tacks with a simple reminder: “Prep is the pre-game show.”

So, whether the weather be hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires or LIGHTNING, when we huddle for mitigation and resilience, let’s heed the General’s command and always remember the “prep!”

Make Plans to Attend the 2018 ULPA/LPI Lightning Protection Conference!

Registration is open for the 86th Annual ULPA/LPI Lightning Protection Conference at the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa on February 28 – March 3, 2018.

LPI member company, Bonded Lightning Protection of Florida will serve as our industry host for the annual meeting, which will feature:
  • * Industry Updates & Reports
  • * Education & Speaker Sessions
  • * Breakout Workshops for Professional Development
  • * LPI Certification & Testing Sessions
  • * Networking Opportunities
  • * Golfing & Social Events
The deadline for rooms and registration is January 22, 2018, so be sure to REGISTER and book your HOTEL RESERVATIONS ASAP!
Details for the annual golfing outing can be found HERE.
What: 86th Annual ULPA/LPI Lightning Protection Conference
When: February 28 – March 3, 2018
Where: The Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa 
How: Toll-Free Reservation Center: 1-877-239-5610. Please mention booking code: “ULPA LPI Conference” when making reservations.

Interested in being a Conference sponsor? Due to overwhelming industry response, the United Lightning Protection Association (ULPA) is once again offering sponsorship opportunities for this year’s Conference. Sponsorship opportunities start at just $250 and provide a great way to put your company name in the spotlight at the industry’s largest annual event. Want to see your company featured at the 2018 Conference?  Your industry colleagues are reserving their commitment levels lightning-fast, so be sure to

SIGN-UP today to reserve your preferred sponsorship spot!

Visit the LPI Booth at the Critical Facilities Summit!

Headed to Minneapolis this month? Be sure to join LPI at the 5th annual Critical Facilities Summit, an Expo that brings the best of the mission critical community together for three days of unbeatable networking, education and product discovery! The Summit is designed for senior-level professionals responsible for the design, construction, management and operations of all mission critical facilities. Both the Expo and the Summit are conveniently located at the Minneapolis Convention Center, which is in the vibrant downtown area near many of the city’s top restaurants and attractions. For more details and information, visit the Summit website at www.criticalfacilitiessummit.com

What: Critical Facilities Summit

Where: LPI Booth #326 at the Minneapolis Convention Center

When: October 23-25, 2017

 

 

 

 

What Homeowners Need to Know about Lightning and its Fire Risk

In Support of National Fire Prevention Week, October 8-14 

This past summer, lightning-sparked fires claimed the lives of homeowners in several U.S. states. Fortunately, property owners can prevent these tragic fires with the installation of a professionally-installed, NFPA 780 compliant lightning protection system (LPS).

It’s the middle of the night when you and your family are awakened by a loud boom of a thunder-clap. Your windows rattle as you feel your house shake. Your instincts tell you your home has been struck by lightning, but what should you do?

“Anyone who suspects a lightning strike to their home should immediately check their enclosed spaces, like the attic and basement—even if the smoke alarm isn’t sounding and even if you don’t smell smoke,” said Georgia State Fire Marshal, Dwayne Garriss.

According to Garriss, lightning-sparked fires occur more often than people realize. Because lightning is the weather event that affects most people in most parts of the country, it’s important for homeowners to take the threat seriously and have a plan of action.

A lingering acrid smell or fallen debris from damaged chimneys or shingles can be evidence of a lightning strike,” explained Garriss. “Since lightning fires aren’t always visible in their beginning stages, it’s important to investigate your property and call the fire department immediately.”

“Lightning is extreme electricity that can carry up to 300 million volts of energy,” said Bud VanSickle, executive director of the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI). “When you compare lightning with an average household electrical current of 120 volts and 15 amps, you understand how devastating a lightning strike can be to an unprotected home.”

This past summer, lightning-sparked fires claimed the lives of homeowners and senior citizens in several U.S. states, including: New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Since it only takes a single lightning strike to ignite a devastating fire, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), created a new infographic to illustrate the numerous ways lightning can enter a home, including:

  • Through a direct strike that can ignite fires or explode roofing, brick or concrete
  • Via roof projections like weather vanes, antennas and satellite dishes
  • Through a strike to a chimney or prominent roof dormer
  • Via telephone or power lines that can harm internal wiring and electronic equipment
  • Via surges or side flash delivered through a nearby tree
  • Through home systems like garage doors or cable lines
  • Via home amenities like irrigation systems, invisible fences and electric gates
  • Through metallic lines, piping or CSST gas piping

The I.I.I. and LPI encourage property owners to investigate the benefits of a professionally-installed lightning protection system (LPS) to mitigate the lightning threat. Lightning protection systems that follow the guidelines of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provide a network of low-resistance paths to safely intercept lightning’s dangerous electricity and direct it to ground without impact to the structure or its occupants.

LPI is a proud supporter of the NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, October 8-14, 2017. This year’s campaign theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” seeks to educate the public about the importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it. In any fire, including those sparked by lightning, seconds count and can determine the difference between a safe escape or a tragedy.

“LPI is leading a ‘Build and Protect’ effort for lightning safety by providing important lightning protection resources for property owners, architects, engineers and construction planners,” explained VanSickle. “Taking a proactive mitigation approach can help prevent lightning-sparked fires at all types of structures.”

To learn more about this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out” and home escape planning, visit firepreventionweek.org.

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 www.lightning.org for more information.

###

Save the Date! Plans underway for the 2018 LPI/ULPA Lightning Protection Conference!

The 86th annual industry conference, scheduled for February 27 – March 2, 2018, will feature educational sessions, professional development, networking opportunities, golfing, social events and much more! LPI members, Pat Dillon and Kim Stauder of Bonded Lightning Protection in Jupiter, FL, will once again serve as conference hosts at one of our favorite destinations; the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa.

Mark your calendars and stay tuned to the LPI website for more conference news and updates coming soon!