Preparation is Key to Navigating Mother Nature’s Nastiness

September 2, 2016 — September is National Preparedness Month and an excellent time to create plans that can safeguard your home or business against Mother Nature’s nastiness. Weather emergencies like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and tornadoes can happen in the middle of the night, when everyone is sleeping, or during the middle of the day when no one is home. The same is true of lightning–and fire evacuations sparked by lightning are more common than you’d expect.

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A lightning protection system inspection takes place at Longwood University’s Science Center during the same time that restoration crews clean-up debris from a lightning-sparked fire at a nearby campus dormitory.

Just this week, lightning sparked a fire at a Pasco County, FL hospital http://wfla.com/2016/08/31/electric-fire-causes-evacuation-of-20-hudson-hospital-patients/ causing the evacuation of over 200 patients who had to be transported to other hospitals. News reports claimed that lightning hit a main power feed on the hospital’s roof and disabled the hospital’s generator.

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Restoration crews from Servpro assess the fire and water damage left behind from a lightning strike to the Northeast building at the Longwood Landings apartment complex. Firefighters estimated 20,000-25,000 gallons of water were used to extinguish the fire.

Last month, in Farmville, VA, over 100 students were evacuated and reassigned to other housing after lightning struck an apartment building http://www.farmvilleherald.com/2016/08/lighting-hits-longwood-apartment-building/ on the Longwood University campus, igniting an eight-alarm fire. The student housing department was forced to scramble to find new accommodations for the students, who had just moved onto campus for the fall semester.

Thunderstorms occur throughout the year and all thunderstorms bring lightning. If a lightning event were to cause an emergency for your home or business, would your family or co-workers know how to get in touch with each other if you are not all together? Before an emergency happens, have a family or company plan in place to determine a point of contact. Ready.gov explains what an emergency communication plan is and how you can prepare one for your family or business: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan

When it comes to lightning, the best way to prepare your home or business from lightning is to have a lightning protection system professionally installed to safeguard your structure, occupants and equipment against Mother Nature’s nastiness. A lightning protection system includes a network of strike termination devices, conductors, grounding electrodes, interconnecting conductors, surge protective devices and other connectors and required fittings. When properly installed in accordance with national safety standards, the system dissipates the dangerous mega electrical discharge to prevent fire, explosion of nonconductive materials and harmful surge overloads.

We know from experience that homes and businesses prepared for disasters are far more likely to incur less damage and recover quicker than those not prepared. Preparation in all areas of life is always important. So, let’s not let our guard down against lightning. After all, the weather peril experienced by most people, most of the time, in most places of our country, certainly commands our respect now, during National Preparedness Month!