Lightning Losses Real, Yet Preventable

MARYVILLE, MO–(Marketwire – June 16, 2009) –

Hurricanes and tornadoes receive the news coverage, but lightning is the second leading cause of storm-related deaths, killing more people than tornadoes or hurricanes, topped only by flooding. In addition, thousands of properties are damaged or destroyed each year by lightning. A single bolt of lightning can generate heat in excess of 50,000 degrees F which can spark fires or cause surging through electrical circuitry. The average cost of a homeowner insurance claim from a

lightning strike has more than doubled since 2004, rising to $5,321 in 2007, according to statistics from the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Packing up to 100 million volts of electricity, a lightning strike to an unprotected home or business can be disastrous, with lightning most often igniting roofs, sidewalls, framing and electrical wires.

“The good news is most personal injury and property damage caused by lightning can be prevented,” says Leslie Chapman-Henderson, CEO and president of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. — FLASH.

“Home and business owners needn’t take their chances with lightning,” explains Bud VanSickle, executive director of the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI). “A professionally-installed lightning protection system which meets U.S. Safety Standards (LPI, NFPA and UL) will prevent lightning damage by providing a safe electrical path into the earth for lightning’s destructive energy.”

Lightning protection technology is a specialty discipline and expertise is required for system design and installation. Systems for homes and businesses should be installed by trained and experienced LPI-certified and UL-listed specialists. FLASH and LPI offer these safeguards for property owners seeking a qualified lightning protection specialist:

--  Make sure materials and methods comply with nationally-recognized
    safety standards of the LPI, NFPA and UL.
--  Only an experienced and reputable UL-listed, LPI-certified lightning
    protection contractors are qualified to install lightning protection
    systems.
--  Check references.  A qualified specialist should provide a list of
    references and affiliation with industry groups such as NFPA, ULPA, LSA

and LPI.

--  Ask about surge protection.  Lightning-induced surges can damage
    electronics and appliances.  A qualified lightning protection contractor
    can provide options for service entrance arresters and surge protection
    devices.
--  Experience counts. Be wary of start-up companies or contractors
    offering a "price deal" to install, fix or repair your lightning
    protection.
--  When in doubt, contact www.bbb.org to locate your local Better
    Business Bureau to obtain reliability report information on a contractor
    before you hire.

The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes-FLASH®, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) collaboration of organizations dedicated to strengthening homes and safeguarding families from disaster. Based in Tallahassee, FLASH, is the nation’s fastest-growing disaster safety education organization with more than 100 partners including FEMA, FL Division of Emergency Management, Georgia Pacific, The Home Depot, International Code Council, National Weather Service, Renaissance Reinsurance, Simpson Strong-Tie, State Farm, USAA and WeatherPredict Consulting, Inc. To

learn more about FLASH and access free resources, visit www.flash.org or call (877) 221-SAFE (7233).

The LPI is not-for-profit, nationwide group founded in 1955 to promote lightning safety, awareness and protection education. The organization provides a certification program to qualify competence in lightning protection installation, design and inspection. The LPI offers a list of certified contractors across the U.S. Visit the LPI website at www.lightning.org for more information about lightning protection.

Contact:
Kim Loehr
LPI Marketing Communications Consultant 804-314-8955

kiml@lightning.org