Do you have a working smoke alarm in your bedroom? Can you “hear the beep where you sleep?” If not, now is the time to assess your smoke alarms—and it’s not enough to just check or replace the batteries.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one quarter of home fire deaths are caused by fires that originate in the bedroom. It’s a scary statistic, and it’s the reason NFPA’s Fire Prevention Month campaign is encouraging homeowners to install smoke alarms in every bedroom and on every level; including basements and attics. NFPA is also stressing the importance of testing smoke alarms monthly and urging families to make an escape plan a priority, since in a fire situation, every second counts!
The NFPA estimates that home fires account for $7 billion in property loss in the U.S. Thunderstorm-sparked fires that occur in the darkness of night, can be difficult to detect; especially if the fire originates in the attic, basement or electrical panel. These fires can be especially destructive, when lightning ignites a home 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
A typical lightning strike can pack up to 200 kA of electrical energy (100 million volts of power), and it’s not uncommon to read news accounts about lightning igniting late night home fires in many areas of the country. Just prior to posting this blog, lightning struck a home in Ancaster, N.Y., sparking a 2:00 a.m. fire in the home’s electrical box. Thankfully for the homeowners, firemen responded quickly, preventing injuries and total destruction.
What many homeowners may not know, is that a lightning protection system can provide a safe and effective grounding network to protect a structure from this type of preventable fire. When installed by a certified specialist, lightning protection systems meet the needs of safety, technology and design. 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. Methods and materials for lightning protection are reviewed regularly through a national safety standard process, which means the science of lightning protection keeps pace with our ever-changing technology. The NFPA 780 Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems is recognized as the most comprehensive resource for reducing lightning risks. The 2014 Standard includes 12 chapters and 15 annex sections to provide a thorough overview of design requirements and applications for lightning protection systems.
NFPA ‘s Fire Prevention campaign 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. Fire Prevention Month is also a good time to remind homeowners about LPI’s newly released video about the lightning risk and the benefits of lightning protection systems for homeowners: https://lightning.org/learn-more/watch-learn/#video-3
More information about fire safety and NFPA’s annual campaign is available at www.firepreventionweek.org.
This October, help LPI build lightning safe communities by learning more about lightning protection and fire safety. Make sure you can “hear the BEEP, where you SLEEP!” And when you have a lightning protection system installed by a qualified LPI professional, you and your family can enjoy the peace of mind to rest easy!