LPI reminds homeowners to be storm smart about lightning during National Preparedness Month

144729MARYVILLE, Mo., Sept. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — September is National Preparedness Month (NPM) and the perfect time to sharpen your storm survival skills. Knowing what to do before the storm hits is often the most important step you can take in protecting your family, property and community.

The fall months are typically prime time for weather disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and thunderstorms. Since tornadoes are spawned by thunderstorms, they are often accompanied by intense lightning that can strike before, during and/or after a tornado passes. While lightning is not a normal occurrence in hurricanes, thunderstorms have been known to occur in the areas of highest vertical convection within the hurricane eye wall. Temperature swings that create extreme differences between cold and warm air can create especially severe thunderstorms in the autumn months. In turn, these storms can pose significant problems for homeowners in terms of heavy winds, downed trees, electrical surges and lightning fires.

“A 9/11 Opinion Survey authored by Cote & D’Ambrosio in 2011 which explored American’s attitudes about terrorism and natural disasters, ranked lightning as the top natural hazard that consumers were ‘very concerned’ about,” said Bud VanSickle, executive director of the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI). “LPI found it interesting that consumer concerns about lightning were ranked just ahead of commonly-feared weather perils such as tornadoes, flooding and hurricanes.”

Irrigation systems and security systems, invisible pet fences, computers and sensitive home electronics and generators are home amenities that can be especially vulnerable to lightning. An indirect or secondary lightning strike to a nearby tree or power line can also induce unwanted surges into a home. A direct lightning strike can carry over 100 million volts of electricity and generate heat in excess of 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit which can rip through roofs, explode brick and concrete, and ignite fires.

“The 9/11 Opinion Survey also revealed that Americans are taking preparedness steps to protect themselves, their families and their property from weather hazards,” said VanSickle. “This preparedness mindset may explain the increased interest we’re seeing in lightning protection technology,” added VanSickle.

In terms of technology and hazard mitigation, the best way to prepare your home from lightning is to have a lightning protection system professionally installed. A properly installed lightning protection system will dissipate the dangerous electrical charge, taking it safely to ground, keeping the home and its occupants unharmed.

Lightning protection systems dissipate lightning’s harmful electricity through the following:

  • strike termination network (rods or air terminals on the roof)
  • down conductor network (cables or downleads)
  • grounding electrode network (ground rods, ground ring or ground plates)
  • equipotential bonding network (joining of components to ensure conductivity)
  • surge protection (SPD’s installed at electrical panels and in-house electronics)

LPI stresses the importance of contracting with a qualified LPI-certified and UL-listed lightning protection specialist to ensure that materials and methods of installation comply with recognized safety standards of LPI-175, NFPA 780 and UL 96-A.

The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is a not-for-profit nationwide group founded in 1955 to promote lightning safety, awareness and education. LPI supports lightning protection quality control and assurance through third-party inspection. Information about follow-up inspection services can be found at www.lpi-ip.com. For a list of certified lightning protection contractors visit the LPI website atwww.lightning.org. An infographic about lightning’s underrated risk is available at https://lightning.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/LSAW-Infographic.jpg

Information about National Preparedness Month and the “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare” campaign is available athttp://www.ready.gov/september.

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SOURCE Lightning Protection Institute