ESFI and LPI Warn of Lightning’s Lingering and Costly Threat to Property Owners

ARLINGTON, Va.Sept. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — With the Atlantic Hurricane Season in full swing through November, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) are working to spread awareness of a less recognized, yet more frequent weather hazard: lightning. According to new data compiled by Impact Forecasting and released by the Insurance Information Institute (III), U.S. insurance and reinsurance markets saw record costs from thunderstorms and convective weather; with 5.7 billion losses cited in the first-quarter of 2017. 

“Lightning is a real danger to you, your home, and your electronics that many people don’t take seriously,” said ESFI President, Brett Brenner. “A single bolt of lightning can cause electrical surges capable of damaging or destroying sensitive equipment. Luckily, you can prepare your home and protect your electronics from this unpredictable, yet common hazard.”

With severe weather, hurricanes, and thunderstorms still prevalent in fall months, ESFI reminds the public to protect their property by unplugging appliances and other electrical items, such as computers and televisions, to prevent damage from surges caused by lightning strikes. Point-of-use surge protection devices can help prevent damage to your electronics, but can’t safeguard against a direct lightning strike, which can carry as much as 300 million volts of electricity and 30,000 amps. If you live in an area prone to lightning, consider a lightning protection system (LPS).

“When you compare lightning’s mega electricity with a typical household electrical current of 120 volts and 15 amps, you understand how devastating a lightning strike can be to an unprotected home,” explained Bud VanSickle, executive director of the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI). “Fortunately, home and business owners needn’t take their chances with lightning, as a professionally-installed LPS that follows national safety standards can prevent damage by providing a safe electrical path into the earth for lightning’s destructive energy.”

Safety Standard-compliant LPS is a package approach which includes a system to ground the structure, a primary SPD (or SPD’s) for the service entrance and sometimes secondary surge protection at the point of use for high-end equipment or appliances. The LPS provides 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. When lightning’s electricity is confined to a properly designed conductive path via the LPS, damage is minimized or eliminated. When considering lightning protection, LPI emphasizes the importance of contracting with a qualified and experienced LPI-certified specialist, as the technology is a specialty trade and expertise is required for system design and installation.

About the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI)
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) warns consumers to be aware of electrical dangers associated with severe storms and the resulting floods and power outages. Deaths and injuries during the summer months are frequently caused by post-storm electrical hazards. ESFI is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety. For more information about ESFI and electrical safety, visit

About the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI)
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 for more information.


SOURCE Lightning Protection Institute

Why does it take epic devastation to remind us of nature’s wrath and how helpless we are when it decides to take us on its terrifying course?

How do we begin to share a post about lightning in the midst of an epic weather event like Hurricane Harvey? As images of Harvey’s devastation are even difficult to view, we can’t begin to imagine how painful the reality of the hardship is for so many to bear. Dear people of Texas–including many of our LPI lightning protection member companies–our thoughts are with you today. Please know that your LPI friends are hoping and praying for your swift relief and rapid recovery.

When we reflect on hurricanes, memories take us back to Katrina and the massive suffering that settled on New Orleans and its surrounding areas. Then, we remember a tempest with winds that etched images of incredible devastation, which remain forever-fixed in our memories.

It was August of 1992, when Hurricane Andrew bore down and unleashed its wrath on South Florida. The monster storm’s effects would be far-reaching with massive devastation that unmasked serious deficiencies in the state’s building and construction practices. Every obliterated home (over 25,000 destroyed and another 100,000 + damaged), and every shattered life (a statistic we’ll never know), echoed the need for change. And change took hold; igniting a spirit of revitalization that gave birth to an energized disaster safety movement—one with a mission to make communities safer and more resilient.

A strengthening of building codes and construction practices to improve resiliency for homes to withstand flood and wind hazards meant quicker recovery and less reliance on federal tax dollars. A good thing, indeed! And as property owners also embraced ideals of green building and sustainability, construction planners took notice and began to design and deliver more options for “fortified” structures. (Shout-out to LPI partners at IBHS and Federal Alliance for Safe Homes–FLASH, for your good work, here!)

Fortifying homes and businesses to withstand hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires certainly makes sense, which is why protection against rain, wind, flood and fire is routinely included in our construction models and building codes. But what about lightning? After all, lightning is the weather peril that affects most people, most of the time, in the most areas of the country. Why is it that lightning remains the only naturally-occurring hazard to be ignored in the vast majority of U.S. building codes?

It’s hard to believe that even a state like Florida, where thunderstorms occur more often and do more harm than other weather disasters—has limited codes in place to address lightning. Is the fact that lightning is so common place, contributing to a complacency about its dangers?

When you consider the fact that safe, effective and affordable protection is available for lightning (unlike other significant weather threats) with proven Standard-compliant lightning protection systems (LPS), it just doesn’t make sense to keep ignoring an obvious threat! Especially when we see scientific reports like those authored by IEEE, NFPA or NOAA. For example, a 2013 IEEE abstract: “Residential Lightning Fires in the USA: An Overview”, cites lightning as responsible for an “estimated 6000 home fires in the U.S. each year; fires that are responsible for loss of life, injury and serious damage or destruction of home dwellings.” This study also points out, that while the “incidence of residential fires from all other causes has fallen dramatically over the past 30 years, lightning fires have increased in number.”

Fast forward to 2017 and what’s changed? Well, in a nutshell, more reports of lightning losses, and more forecasts for increased activity in upcoming years. Unfortunately, something which hasn’t changed is much-needed progress within the building code process to recognize a proven cost benefit analysis of LPS.

So, is it apathy about lightning, or attitudes about lightning protection that need to change? Either way, we can’t prevent lightning from striking. To quote author, Steven King, “Money can’t buy off the lightning.” On the heels of setbacks in recent industry efforts to improve safety and reduce lightning losses through various code processes, this quote may be especially ironic. And perhaps a bit prophetic, too, when you consider reports of record lightning losses for 2017 and scientific predictions for increased activity.

Sometimes, in this world (including in the world of lightning protection), we’re forced to accept the things we cannot change and just let nature take its course. But, whether it be ill-informed building code decisions or the uncanny wrath of Mother Nature, we can’t let obstacles prevent us from working harder and smarter to further the things we can control–things like education, awareness and enlightenment.

It’s called resilience. And you can’t put a price tag on that.

Lightning and Lightning Protection: Measuring the Tolerable Risk

Just last month, a thunderstorm sparked a lightning fire at a senior living complex in Chesapeake, VA, claiming the lives of three residents. Reports of the tragic fire referenced sprinklers and NFPA 13, but unfortunately failed to mention how NFPA 780 lightning protection can help prevent these events from occurring. This senior facility in Richmond, VA, is equipped with LPS–a clear indication that lightning is not a tolerable risk.

When considering lightning protection, architects, engineers, safety professionals and building owners typically rely on the NFPA Risk Assessment methodology to determine the risk of damage due to lightning. The risk assessment guide is found in the “Annex L” section of the NFPA 780 Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems, and provides both an at a glance, simplified assessment and a detailed calculation guide to achieve a more in-depth analysis. The NFPA risk index compares the expected direct strikes to the structure with the occupancy and contents to give an evaluation of whether lightning protection should be applied, or may be considered optional.

Federal agencies, including the Navy, VHA, GSA and USPS also use the NFPA Risk Assessment to evaluate whether or not lightning protection should be installed for both new construction and renovation projects. The NFPA’s Risk Assessment methodology takes into account lightning’s threat and the following factors:

  • The building environment
  • Type of construction
  • Structure occupancy
  • Structure contents
  • Lightning stroke consequences

Once the risk has been determined, deciding on the need for protection measures is much easier. While Risk Assessment methodology is a good rule of thumb, sometimes the presence of a single risk factor is enough to render a structure a significant risk worth protecting. Historic buildings, healthcare facilities, 911 and emergency centers, server farms, industrial plants, schools and churches are often considered to be at high risk in terms of susceptibility to lightning losses. Since a single lightning strike can introduce a chain reaction of destruction, the lightning protection system (LPS) design and installation needs to follow guidelines of NFPA 780 to effectively address all aspects of this complex electrical hazard. Lightning fires can be especially destructive when a strike ignites a structural fire in any of these ways:

  • Through a direct strike
  • In an arc discharge between two conductive objects at different induced potentials
  • By a current surge in circuitry or electrical equipment
  • By an overflow of substantial electrical current, which in turn causes overheating, melting or vaporizing of metal
  • By arcing of lightning current from conductors at high-resistance grounds
  • Through lightning puncturing pinholes in CSST gas piping

The design of the LPS must: 1) intercept the lightning flash (provide a preferred strike receptor), 2) conduct the current to earth, 3) dissipate the current into the earth and 4) create equipotential balance to prevent hazardous potential differences between the LPS, structure and its internal systems. When considering all the factors associated with susceptibility, safety, and disruption, the cost of installing lightning protection is often considered minimal as compared to the potential for risk.

Mitigation experts stress that the path to improved community and infrastructure resilience must be “risk-informed and performance-based.” While NFPA codes and standards seek to prevent fires from igniting, “preventing” a force of nature is obviously beyond the role of any code or standard. But in terms of risk reduction and risk management, NFPA 780 is clearly a performance-based mitigation measure for addressing protection for buildings, occupants, contents and operations from lightning fires and losses. The 2017 edition of NFPA has expanded the Lightning Risk Assessment Annex L to include clarifications and revisions that parallel requirements of international lightning protection standards. Risk assessment at the very least, is critical to providing a starting point for mitigation to successfully reduce loss of life and property due to the prevalent lightning threat. If we fail to even consider or assess the threat, how can we effectively begin to lessen the impact of future lightning tragedies?




Is your “shelter” from the storm a lightning safe place? Reminders about the dangers of tents and thunderstorms.

Tents and lightning can be a lethal combination for outdoor enthusiasts. Knowing when to seek safe or “safer” shelter is an important part of lightning risk reduction during thunderstorm season.

It’s July and it’s hot and humid. The dog days of summer have settled in, and so has lightning. And if you happen to be a camping enthusiast, or a guest at humid outdoor event, odds are that you could find yourself under a tent and in the midst of an approaching thunderstorm. While tents provide shelter from heat, sun and rain, it’s important to remind outdoor enthusiasts that tents and lightning can be a lethal combination. So what do we need to know about tents and lightning safety?

According to John Gookin, PhD and author of National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Lightning, the proper response to lightning can differ, depending on whether or not we find ourselves in a “frontcountry” or “backcountry” environment. Gookin describes frontcountry as “urban, suburban, rural or even distant areas in the countryside that offer shelter from lightning in the form of modern buildings with wiring and plumbing or vehicles with solid metal bodies.” Conversely, backcountry is defined as “any area more than an hour’s travel away from definitive medical care; noting that ‘travel’ in backcountry can often involve hiking, boating or horseback riding.”

Tents are often equipped with aluminum poles which resemble blunt-head LPS air terminals (lightning rods). It’s important to emphasize that these poles do not provide any type of lightning protection or lightning safety for occupants.

If a thunderstorm approaches as you happen to be under a tent in the frontcountry, the safest response is always “when thunder roars, go indoors” or to immediately head for a substantial building or fully-enclosed vehicle and stay there for 30 minutes until the storm. Once the storm has safely passed you can feel safe to resume your outdoor activities or return to the tent setting. As a side-note, it’s important to clarify that tents equipped with aluminum poles which resemble blunt-head LPS air terminals (lightning rods) DO NOT provide any type of lightning protection or lightning safety for occupants.

Unfortunately, tent safety during a thunderstorm in the backcountry can be extremely challenging. If the tent stands higher than nearby objects or is under a tree, you could be at an increased risk of being struck by lightning or suffering exposure to sideflash or ground current—all which can be deadly. When reviewing lightning safety options for tent occupants in the backcountry, NOLS emphasizes the following:

·   Schedule camping excursions in accordance with local weather patterns, avoiding times when thunderstorms are in the forecast.

·  Acquaint yourself with the terrain prior to setting up your tent site and avoid lone trees, wide-open ground and exposed peaks and ridges.

· Seek lower terrain and ravines for tent sites when possible.

· Remember that no place outdoors is safe from lightning when a thunderstorm is overhead! Anticipating the hazard, erring on the side of caution and having a pre-arranged plan of action can greatly reduce your risk of being a lightning victim.  

In his book, Gookin shares 12 case studies involving real life lightning events; including his account of a tragic incident at Colorado’s Lookout Point in September 2007, where a 21 year-old man (John Cowan, an enlisted army soldier in between tours in Iraq), was struck and killed during a weekend hike with three friends. Gookin writes:

Lightning struck Lookout Point near the tent a 6:52 p.m. Cowan’s three companions were standing in the tent at the time; they received only minor injuries and survived the strike. Cowan, however was lying down and killed instantly. The party’s cell phones were disabled by the electricity, so someone ran to the road to get a passerby to call 911. El Paso Country Search and Rescue responded.”

Gookin describes how a NOAA meteorologist visited the scene and found evidence of multiple tears on the floor of the tent, but no other damage. Evidence reviewed at the scene indicated that ground current killed the young victim and an autopsy revealed the presence of electrical wounds on his elbow and buttocks—which suggested that lightning traveled through his torso.

A summary Gookin’s “Lessons Learned” from the tragic event include these takeaways:

· The campers were 100 yards from parked vehicles which potentially could have provided safe shelter.

· The fact that the lone fatality was the person lying down, supports the theory that reducing one’s ground contact, reduces exposure to ground current.      

· When designing locations for campsites, park and recreational planners should consider the lightning hazard and post signage indicating the potential for dangerous thunderstorms, when appropriate.

It’s important to emphasize that most lightning victims are steps away from a safe place. The vast majority of lightning deaths and injuries occur when people don’t act to take shelter, don’t know to take shelter or leave shelter too early. Often, the best plan for lightning risk management involves three key factors: 1) anticipating potentially hazardous weather; 2) maintaining awareness of changing conditions; and 3) knowing when to move to seek safety; or in some circumstances, finding a “safer” place.

Too often, we see individuals hunkering down in unsafe, outdoor “shelters” like tents, cabins, pavilions, porches, canopies and stadium dugouts during thunderstorms–behavior the LSA Team is working to combat by continually emphasizing the importance of finding a lightning safe “place” rather than a “shelter.”

Please help LPI and the National Lightning Safety Council build lightning safe communities by sharing this timely reminder about tents and lightning safety. For more lightning safety and risk reduction resources, visit

Build & Protect, Summer 2017

Recognizing the importance of disaster mitigation for the architect and engineering communities, Build & Protect, is a newsletter written specifically for A&E’s to provide unique content related to lightning protection system (LPS) design, specification, quality assurance, inspection and maintenance. 
Find out how the inclusion of safety Standard-compliant lightning protection systems in your state-of-the-art designs can benefit the building environment.

It’s Lightning Safety Awareness Week! Are You #LightningSmart?

The NWS and NOAA launched the National Lightning Safety Awareness Week campaign in 2001 to raise awareness about the dangers of lightning, a deadly, yet underrated killer. Since the beginning of the campaign, lightning deaths in the U.S. have dramatically dropped. Unfortunately, property and structural losses due to lightning continue to rise.
In support of this year’s LSA Week campaign, June 18-24, LPI is emphasizing the importance of protecting people, property and places. Once again, we are partnering with the National Lightning Safety Council to encourage awareness and share information throughout the week on several topics:

Sunday: An Introduction to Lightning and Lightning Safety

Monday: The Science of Lightning and Thunder

Tuesday: Lightning Safety Outdoors

Wednesday: Lightning Safety Indoors

Thursday: Lightning Safety and Sports Activities

Friday: Medical Effects on Lightning Victims

Saturday: Protecting Your Home from Lightning

Help us build lightning safe communities by learning more about lightning’s dangers, and by sharing these important safety and protection resources!

Lightning Wreaking Havoc on Your Home? Get Grounded!

Lightning packs a powerful punch that can carry up to 300 million volts of electrical energy. When compared to your average household electrical current of 120 volts and 15 amps, lightning’s charge is super-charged! Since it only takes a single lightning strike to wreak havoc, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), created a new infographic to illustrate the numerous ways lightning can enter a home and cause destruction and disruption, 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 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

A professionally-installed LPS can immediately ground lightning to protect life and property against a leading weather threat. Learn more about the benefits of LPS for your home by contacting a LPI-certified professional in your area.

Building Lightning Safe – News & Notes from the Community
Increase in Lightning Claims Sparks Attention 
According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), the number of U.S. homeowners insurance claims caused by lightning rose in 2016. Despite this rise in claims from 2015 and more than $825 million paid out last year to more than 100,00 policyholders, the I.I.I. cites a decrease in average costs paid on claims. Not surprisingly, Florida led the list for states with the most claims, followed by Texas, Georgia and Louisiana. 
“Not only does lightning result in deadly home fires, it can cause severe damage to appliances, electronics, computers and equipment, phone systems, electrical fixtures and the electrical foundation of a home,” said James Lynch, FCAS MAAA and chief actuary and vice president of research and information services at I.I.I.
 Fortunately, homeowners can opt for the installation of safety Standard-compliant LPS to protect their most valuable assets. The I.I.I. has created a helpful video to provide tips to help homeowners choose the right system from the right professionals. Visit these links for more information about lightning protection and insurance.
Resilient Reasons Why Architects and Engineers are Specifying LPS 

Although barely visible, the aesthetically-pleasing LPS on this commercial building in Virginia, provides safe and effective protection against a leading cause of property damage.

Building codes set minimum standards that may, or may not, include LPS. But by including LPS in owner checklists, designers can deliver a higher level of quality assurance and value engineering for building resilience.
 LPS has become increasingly important for the building process, as businesses and planners continue to emphasize sustainable approaches to design and construction. Adding LPS as part of a Build & Protect plan for Green and LEED structures is an important resiliency measure that can prevent surge interruptions and downtime and provide protection against a leading cause of property damage. Learn more about ways that LPS is improving sustainability here.
LPI Partners with NWS to Pitch Lightning Safety on “School Day at the K”
In the spirit of helping to build lightning safe communities, LPI was proud to support our partners from the National Weather Service (NWS) in Kansas City at last month’s 19th annual “School Day at the K” event.
Our friend, Leon the Lightning Safety Lion was an honored VIP, distributing “When thunder roars, go indoors” lightning bolt visors and posing for photo ops with attendees at Kauffman Stadium. Dubbed the “largest educational field trip in Kansas City,” this special event has become a Royals tradition, attracting more than 20,000 students each year! Checkout more information about the annual event here.

Do you have a Building Lightning Safestory or perspective to share? Send us your news & notables for inclusion in an upcoming issue of Build & Protect.

Metal Roofing: Does it Increase a Structure’s Risk to Lightning?

Critical structures like emergency centers, hospitals, police departments and fire stations, are routinely equipped with LPS. Photo courtesy of Bonded Lightning Protection Systems, Ltd.The probabilities of lightning striking a metal-roofed structure are no more or less than lightning striking any other type of structure, yet questions often arise about metal roofs


The probabilities of lightning striking a metal-roofed structure are no more or less than lightning striking any other type of structure, yet questions often arise about metal roofs “attracting” lightning or providing built-in “protection” against lightning. Without the presence of a professionally-installed LPS, any structure is vulnerable to lightning; with or without a metal roof.

Metal roofs are not designed for electrical continuity or to provide structural lightning protection. The anchoring sections of roofing and siding systems are not constructed to carry current because, in most situations, the thickness of the metal used is insufficient to provide a guaranteed path for lightning.

 While a building’s structural steel will conduct lightning, it’s the bonding, interconnection and grounding provided by the LPS that dissipates lightning’s harmful electricity safely to ground. Arcing, side-flashing and potential differences can occur without the continuous preferred path to ground provided by LPS. Without the presence of the system, lightning can fight its way through the mechanical, electrical, communication and HVAC systems–none of which are designed to provide a safe path to ground for lightning. A complete LPS is needed to interconnect structural steel and grounded systems at grade level and roof level to equalize potential and keep the lightning on a preferred path to ground.
Assessing the need for lightning protection typically involves comparing the expected lightning frequency with the tolerable lightning frequency risk–which means weighing the lightning probability against its consequence to life and environment. This is why critical structures and facilities like hospitals, emergency centers, police and fire stations, nursing homes and schools are routinely equipped with LPS, as they cannot afford to be vulnerable.The June issue of Metal Construction News further examines the subject of LPS for metal roofing. Click here to read the article.
Is Your Lightning Protection Missing a Key Component?
Wondering if your lightning protection system design meets quality assurance guidelines? Not sure if your project specifications comply with industry requirements and nationally-recognized safety Standards?

LPI-IP provides a LPS review and certification service more thorough and complete than any previous inspection program on the market.

Third-party inspection can identify lightning protection system oversights, improper materials or methods, issues with compliance and the need for repairs or recommended maintenance. LPI-IP inspection and certification services provide peace of mind to ensure materials and methods comply with recommended practices and industry safety Standards. LPI-IP offers users the option of Standard specific inspections (LPI 175, NFPA 780 and/or UL96A), to accommodate market needs and a wider range of projects. Quality service, multiple inspection options and ease-of-use are a few reasons why LPI-IP is the industry’s fastest growing lightning protection inspection service. For more information about the LPI-IP Inspection Program visit or contact:

Tim Harger, Program Manager
14048 Petronella Drive, Suite 104 |  Libertyville, IL 60048
Phone: (224) 433-6680 | Fax: (847) 996-0401 |  Email Address:

Subscribe to Build & Protect!

There’s a saying that goes, “An architect’s dream is an engineer’s nightmare.” A&E’s seeking to keep pace with lightning protection trends to help fortify their building dreams and nightmares, won’t want to miss an issue of Build & Protect!

Subscribe Now

Lightning Protection Institute | Toll Free 800-488-6864 | Fax 660-582-0430 | | Website

Number Of Lightning-Related Homeowners Insurance Claims Up In 2016, But Severity Down

Florida, Texas, Georgia And Louisiana Remain Top States For Lightning Claims; Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 18 – 24

NEWS PROVIDED BY: Insurance Information Institute NEW YORK, June 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The number of homeowners insurance claims from lightning strikes and electrical surges in the United States rose in 2016, compared with 2015; however, the average cost that insurers paid on those claims fell, according to a new analysis by the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

The study, done in partnership with State Farm® found:

  • More than $825 million in lightning claims was paid out last year to more than 100,000 policyholders.
  • Total insured losses caused by lightning rose 4.5 percent from 2015 to 2016, although overall losses have declined 12.4 percent since 2007.
  • There were 109,049 lightning claims in 2016, up 9.7 percent from 2015.
  • Over fifty percent of claims were related to electrical surge damaging components or wiring, while power surges from transformer or service line shorts were also contributing factors. “The average cost per claim dropped 4.7 percent from 2015 to 2016,” said James Lynch, FCAS MAAA, chief actuary at the I.I.I. “However, the overall average cost per claim has risen 42.3 percent since 2007. By comparison,” he noted, “The Consumer Price Index rose only 15.8 percent in the same period.”State by State Numbers
    Florida—the state with the most thunderstorms—remained the top state for lightning claims in 2016, with 10,385, followed by Texas (9,098), Georgia (8,037) and Louisiana (5,956).Homeowners Insurance Coverage
    Damage caused by lightning, such as a fire, is covered by standard homeowners insurance policies. Some policies provide coverage for power surges that are the direct result of a lightning strike, which can cause severe damage to appliances, electronics, computers and equipment, phone systems, electrical fixtures and the electrical foundation of a home.In recognition of Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 18 – 24, the I.I.I. and the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) encourage homeowners to install a lightning protection system in their homes.

    “Lightning protection systems that follow the guidelines of NFPA are designed to protect your home by providing a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of the lightning bolt,” said Kim Loehr, Communications Director for LPI, a national organization that promotes lightning protection education, awareness and safety.

    To locate an LPI-certified lightning protection system installer in your area, click here.

    Facts and Statistics: Lightning
    Lightning Videos
    Consumer Alert: The Dangers of Shoddy Lightning Protection System Installations
    Infographic:  Got Lightning? Get Grounded

    Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety
    NOAA/National Weather Service


    Insurance Information Institute, 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038; (212) 346-5500;

It’s Lightning Safety Awareness Week! Are you ready for thunderstorm season?

In support of national Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 18-24, 2017

The NWS and NOAA launched the National Lightning Safety Awareness Week campaign in 2001 to raise awareness about the dangers of lightning, a deadly, yet underrated killer. The Lightning Protection Institute joined the campaign effort in 2007 as partners, to provide messaging about lightning protection for structures, and explain how safety Standard-compliant LPS can make safe places safer. Since the beginning of the campaign, lightning deaths in the U.S. have dramatically dropped. Unfortunately, property and structural losses due to lightning continue to rise.

In support of this year’s LSA Week campaign, June 18-24, LPI is emphasizing the importance of protecting people, property and places. Once again, we are partnering with the National Lightning Safety Council to encourage awareness and share information throughout the week on several topics:

  • Sunday: An Introduction to Lightning and Lightning Safety
  • Monday: The Science of Lightning and Thunder
  • Tuesday: Lightning Safety Outdoors
  • Wednesday: Lightning Safety Indoors
  • Thursday: Lightning Safety and Sports Activities
  • Friday: Medical Effects on Lightning Victims
  • Saturday: Protecting Your Home from Lightning

Help us build lightning safe communities by learning more about lightning’s dangers, and by sharing these important safety and protection resources! Finally, please remember to heed the advice of our pal and lightning safety ambassador, Lion the Lightning Lion: “When thunder roars, go indoors!”

Got Lightning? Get Grounded!

Check out this infographic created by the Insurance Information Institute, in conjunction with LPI, to educate people on the dangers of lightning and how it can enter your home.

LPI and III Lightning Infographic

It’s Electrical Safety Month! Let’s include LIGHTNING in our electrical safety plans and discussions.

Lightning is an underrated and often overlooked electrical fire risk. Lightning protection systems, like the one here, provided by Bonded Lightning Protection Systems, Ltd. can meet building resiliency needs for safety, technology and design.

May is National Electrical Safety Month and each year, LPI supports the Electrical Safety Foundation International’s campaign to raise awareness. While supporting the campaign, LPI also takes the opportunity to remind the public of the dangers of a frequently overlooked and often underrated electrical danger; you guessed it–lightning.

When it comes to electricity, lightning may be the reigning queen, packing a rapid discharge of mega energy that can carry up to 300 million volts and 30,000 amps. That’s a powerful charge, compared to your household electrical current of 120 volts and 15 amps. It’s no surprise that a single lightning strike can kill a human or even an entire herd of cattle in an instant, and destroy an unprotected tree or structure in a flash of light.

Unfortunately, since lightning is the weather peril most frequently experienced by most people, most of the time in the U.S., we often see complacency and apathy about the risk. While NOAA, NWS and the National Lightning Safety Council are leading the way to promote awareness about lightning safety for people, LPI is helping to build lightning safe communities by sharing Build & Protect resources about benefits that safety Standard-compliant lightning protection systems (LPS) can provide for structures and property.

Lightning induced electrical fires can be especially destructive when a strike ignites a structural fire in one of the following ways:

* Through a direct strike

* In an arc discharge between two conductive objects at different induced potentials

* By a current surge in circuitry and electrical equipment

* By the overflow of substantial electrical current which causes overheating, melting or vaporizing of metal

* By arcing of lightning current from conductors at high-resistance grounds

* Through lightning puncturing pinholes in CSST gas piping

Since the key to electrical and fire safety is to prevent hazards before they happen, planning and awareness about personal lightning safety and specification and installation of safety Standard compliant LPS are important elements of a comprehensive electrical safety approach.

National safety Standards for LPS call for 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 bonding and surge protection devices for vulnerable appliances may be needed, as well. In a nutshell, properly designed and installed LPS is always a total package protection approach.

So let’s play it safe with nature’s electrical risk. While enjoying the May flowers, please take care to head indoors whenever thunder roars. And for prevention-minded folks who want to make their safe places safer, make sure your LPS provider’s materials and methods comply with safety Standard recommendations of NFPA 780.

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

Lightning Protection Institute Expresses Concerns about a Common Gas Piping

Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) Pipes Have Been Linked to Fires, Gas Leaks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — MARYVILLE, Mo, April 27, 2017 — The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is telling its members to take liability precautions when installing lightning protection systems (LPS) on homes equipped with corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST), a common gas piping.

Lawsuits have alleged that CSST’s thin-walled composition has made it susceptible to fires caused either by lightning strikes or gas leaks linked to perforations in the piping. CSST manufacturers have denied charges that their products are either defective or contributed to property damage which would otherwise not have occurred.

“While safety Standard-compliant lightning protection systems provide proven and effective protection for homeowners against a leading weather threat, continued litigation and unknowns about CSST are a concern for our industry,” said Bud VanSickle, executive director for LPI.

“Unfortunately, the efficacy of these bonding practices hasn’t been verified, so there isn’t data to assure us that these tactics are solving the lightning susceptibility problems associated with the CSST product,” explained VanSickle. “Due to safety unknowns and the continued litigation, LPI is advising its members to disclaim CSST in very clear terms in their work proposals and documents.”

Concerns about CSST have prompted a national public awareness campaign, National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA) reviews, lawsuits and class action settlements.  One was reached recently, for instance, with property owners in Maryland

LPI recently began a partnership with the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) to help promote awareness and improve safety measures connected with CSST and the product’s susceptibility to lightning. Both groups are supporting efforts within the codes and standards community to increase performance criteria for CSST products.

“Documentation for CSST fire incidents is nonexistent, which makes it impossible to understand and solve the problem,” said Becky Teel, spokesperson for the Brennen Teel Foundation  Teel’s son, Brennen, died in 2012 in a Lubbock, Texas, home fire and explosion allegedly caused by the failure of yellow jacketed CSST.

According to the fire marshal’s report, lightning struck the metal chimney cap and arced to the gas piping of the Lubbock home where Mr. Teel was visiting. Brennen Teel, who was 31 years old, was killed when gas which had escaped through tiny holes in the CSST piping—reportedly punctured by the electrical charge produced by a direct lightning strike—ignited an explosive fire.

“We need a central database to catalog the important information about this fire risk, and we need it now,” added Teel.

“Great strides have been made in constructing fire-resistant buildings and improving fire-suppression techniques, both of which have reduced the number of fires in the U.S.  Nonetheless, builders, firefighters and insurers are constantly working to mitigate fire risk wherever it exists,” said Michael Barry, vice president, media relations, Insurance Information Institute.

“The lightning protection industry has taken notice of numerous and mounting CSST-related lawsuits around the country—we’re concerned about protecting homeowners and our members,” said VanSickle. “As a nationwide group dedicated to lightning safety and lightning protection, we will continue to petition the codes and standards community for more improvement and urge the CSST manufacturers to support more research.”

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 for more information.


Contact: Kimberly Loehr LSA/LPI Communications Office 804-314-8955