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 https://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!