What You Need to Know about Fire, Lightning and Lightning-Sparked Fires

In Support of Fire Prevention Week, October 6-12

MARYVILLE, Mo – October 6, 2019 — According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) the number of home fire deaths in the U.S. is increasing and in turn creating a growing challenge for fire safety professionals.

“This troubling trend has a lot to do with the fact that today’s home fires burn faster than ever before,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of outreach and advocacy for NFPA. “As a result, if a fire strikes, occupants could have as little as two minutes to escape—a task made even harder amid thick, blinding smoke that can make it nearly impossible to find your way out of a burning home,” explained Carli.

While this year’s NFPA Fire Prevention Week campaign is focusing on home fires, its fire safety messages apply to virtually any structure and any type of structural fire—including those sparked by lightning.

“In working to spread awareness about lightning safety and increase education about lightning protection, we’ve come to realize that most people are uninformed about the dangers of lightning; including its very real fire risk,” said Bud VanSickle, executive director for the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI). “As with all fire hazards, the key to safety is prevention, which is why LPI supports Fire Prevention Week with reminders to property owners that most lightning-sparked fires can be prevented when structures are equipped with NFPA 780 compliant lightning protection systems.”

A lightning protection system (LPS) that follows the guidelines of the NFPA 780 safety standard, provides a network of low-resistance paths to safely intercept lightning’s destructive electricity and direct it to ground without impact to a structure or its occupants.

By sharing facts and education resources during Fire Prevention Week, we can increase awareness about an underrated fire hazard and hopefully, help build support for lightning safety and protection initiatives, too,” said VanSickle.

To educate people about the misunderstood dangers of lightning, LPI has created a new short videoLightning…Is your home, business or community in the line of fire?” The video highlights the many ways lightning impacts U.S. communities and the economic toll it places on homes, businesses and infrastructure.

NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week™ for more than 90 years. The theme for the 2019 FPW campaign, which takes place October 6-12, is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape: Plan and Practice Your Escape.” To learn more about home fire escape planning and fire safety visit www.firepreventionweek.org.

LPI is leading a Build and Protect effort for lightning safety by providing important lightning protection resources for property owners, insurance providers, architects, engineers and construction planners. When safety stakeholders take a proactive mitigation approach to the lightning hazard, they help prevent lightning-sparked fires at all types of structures.

For safety and quality assurance, LPI-IP provides third-party inspection and certification services to ensure lightning protection system compliance with nationally-recognized safety standards.

The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is a not-for-profit, nationwide group founded in 1955 to promote lightning safety, awareness and education and is a leading resource for lightning protection and system requirements. Visit the LPI website at https://lightning.org/ for more information.

Link to LPI’s Fire Prevention Week Video: http://Video link: https://youtu.be/fyGiCVCdNnc



SAVE the DATE! Build & Protect Workshop Scheduled for February 2020

Florida architects, engineers, builders and planners will have an opportunity to learn about lightning protection, resilient building practices and blueprints for collaborative partnerships at the 2nd annual Build & Protect Workshop on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, at the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa.

The workshop is sponsored by the Lightning Protection Institute, the Lightning Safety Alliance and the CE Academy, and is part of LPI’s recent initiative to provide A&E’s and LPI Professional Division members with educational resources related to lightning protection system design, specification and quality assurance.

For more details and information, please contact the CE Academy at:  www.ceacademyinc.com.

Or for information about lightning protection Continuing Education programs in your area, contact the Lightning Safety Alliance

September is Campus Fire Safety Month: Is your school prepared to prevent a lightning tragedy?

Fire safety is a primary concern for every school in the country, and even more so at colleges and universities where large numbers of students reside in campus dormitories and apartments. Severe weather and fires pose special threats to school communities. Since lightning is the weather peril that affects nearly every area of the country, it’s important that school administrators, coaches, emergency managers and security personnel understand the threat and develop a plan to protect students and fortify their school structures.

Here are three questions designed to help schools examine the lightning risk and reduce their exposure:

  1. Does your school have an evacuation plan in place in case of a lightning fire? If not, make this a priority TODAY! Lightning fires aren’t always visible in their initial stages. A lingering acrid or unusual smell can be evidence of a lightning strike, so it’s important that school safety directors and resident assistants check attic and basement spaces right away. In a fire, seconds count, so be sure to investigate a potential lightning strike immediately and call the fire department for expert guidance. School officials and educators seeking information about fire evacuation will want to review these helpful Campus Fire Safety resources.
  2. Has your school performed a lightning risk assessment or cost-benefit analysis to evaluate lightning protection system (LPS) installations for new construction, building renovation and existing structures? Not sure how to assess or who to consult? Architects, safety professionals, building owners and property managers have come to rely on the NFPA Lightning Risk Assessment methodology found in the NFPA 780 Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems, to determine risk of damage due to lightning.
  3. Is your campus “schooled” in the science of lightning and lightning protection? Don’t wait for a lightning event to test your school’s storm smarts; get enlightened now! The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) provides a wealth of resources for school officials to view and download. Visit this LPI website link to view videos and public safety announcements, download brochures about lightning protection, read FAQ’s, and browse LPI’s own “Library of Resources.”

Finally, if your campus doesn’t have an outdoor lightning safety policy, there’s no time like the present to make sure staff and students take the lightning threat seriously to stay vigilant at sporting and recreation events. Mitigating severe weather threats for large groups of people can be challenging, and implementing a lightning safety policy is no exception. Having clearly communicated measures and a best-practice policy in place can go a long way in preventing a devastating lightning tragedy. For schools seeking preparedness guidance, Earthnetworks.com has compiled a list of 8 Lightning Policy Best Practices” for implementing smart approaches to lightning safety.

Are you a student, educator or school official? If so, LPI invites you to support Campus Fire Safety Month and help raise awareness of fire safety at your school. Visit http://www.campus-firewatch.com/ for additional resources and important safety information.



New Applications and Requirements for Lightning Protection Systems Outlined in the 2020 Edition of NFPA 780

Downloadable copy with links, available here: https://conta.cc/2SFRcQS



Lightning: Weather Threat that Affects Most People, in Most Regions, Most of the Time

In Support of National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 23-29

MARYVILLE, Mo.June 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Despite being the weather threat that impacts the most people, most of the time and in most areas of the U.S., lightning remains a misunderstood and underrated danger. Recognizing the misconceptions and apathy connected with the threat, the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is shining a light on the toll lightning takes on people and communities across the U.S.

“As the media continues to share daily reports of costly lightning incidents and devastating home and building fires sparked by lightning, we are reminding property owners, builders, insurance providers and fire safety officials that these losses can be prevented when lightning protection systems are installed for structures,” said Bud VanSickle, executive director for the Lightning Protection Institute.

In support of this year’s National Lightning Safety Awareness Week campaign, LPI is partnering with the National Lightning Safety Council (NLSC) to stress the importance of protecting people, property and places.

June 23-29 is National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, and a good time to understand more about the dangers of lightning and learn simple, yet important, lightning safety guidelines,” said John Jensenius, director of the National Lightning Safety Council. “When people understand the dangers, they can make more informed decisions to protect themselves, their family and their property.”

“Lightning is truly the ‘universal’ weather peril—impacting nearly everyone at some time or another,” explained VanSickle. “To illustrate lightning’s widespread impact, LPI created a new infographic which highlights media reports of lightning incidents in every state of the country.”

LPI has educational resources for property owners, builders, designers and insurance providers looking to learn more about lightning’s risk and understand the benefits that safety standard compliant lightning protection systems provide for structures.

People looking to learn more about lightning safety, risk reduction and the annual Lightning Safety Awareness Week Campaign can visit www.lightningsafetycouncil.org.

About the Lightning Protection Institute 
The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is a not-for-profit, nationwide group founded in 1955 to promote lightning safety, awareness and education and is a leading resource for lightning protection information and system requirements. Visit the LPI website at www.lightning.org for more information.

Build & Protect Newsletter, June 2019 Lightning Safety Awareness Week Issue

Download the June issue of our Build & Protect Newsletter here

Building Lightning Safe Communities: An Architect’s Perspective

LAS VEGAS, Nev., June 6, 2019 — The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is working to shine a spotlight on the lightning hazard and expand its “building lightning safe communities” initiative through outreach with mitigation-minded partners like architects, engineers and risk-management stakeholders.

Illya Azaroff is a national and international leader in disaster mitigation, resilience, planning strategies and resilient building design with more than 25 years of experience.

For lightning safety awareness month, LPI connected with Illya Azaroff, AIA founder of +Lab Architect in New York for his expert thoughts about lightning and lightning protection. Azaroff is a national and international leader in disaster mitigation, resilience, planning strategies and resilient building design with more than 25 years of experience. He consults and collaborates with city, state and federal agencies, professional organizations, not-for-profits, community groups, foreign governments and design teams on building resilient capacity issues.

Here are a few highlights from LPI’s interview with Azaroff.

How familiar are you with lightning protection?

I’m quite familiar with lightning protection. Growing up in the Midwest, lightning and thunderstorms were common occurrence. Buildings had lightning rods and grounding, particularly in rural areas. Here in New York, our recently completed Hurricane Strong home in Breezy point is a single family all-hazard prototype that incorporates a broad range of resilient measures. Lightning protection is one of them. The project is located near the beach in an area where lightning is historically a leading threat to homes. We incorporated lightning protection with the help of LPI. Any architect or engineer looking at all-hazard design needs to consider lightning protection as part of a greater strategy.

As an architect, what would you like to learn about lightning protection systems?

I would like to know strategies for various types of construction circumstances and locations. The installation and how it aligns with and protects other electrical services in the building. I think there is a great degree of importance in protecting equipment and data. 

Are there design/building trends that you see where lightning protection can play an important role?

Yes, there are two important instances. The first is as populations continue to migrate to cities, the urban density increases and so does the exposure to lightning. The second is due to an increased complexity and reliance, as our society increasingly leans on data and electric consumption. Protecting emerging networks, patterns of electrical distribution and storage will become increasingly important.

Do you have suggestions for ways that the lightning protection industry can better connect with architects?

The fact that LPI is a provider of an AIA registered continuing education course is of interest to architects. As a resilience expert, this information is essential to know so that we can advise others. Demonstration videos are a great way to spark interest, as well. But the one thing that gets great attention is sharing success stories from built work–artifacts of how and why lightning protection is important to the people and businesses that occupy these fortified buildings.

Architects, engineers and designers are invited to visit LPI booth #6348 at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2019 #A19CON in Las Vegas today and tomorrow to learn more about national standards for lightning protection systems and sign-up for LPI’s Build & Protect newsletter.

“Lightning protection systems have become increasingly important for the building process, as businesses and planners continue to emphasize sustainable approaches to design and construction,” said Bud VanSickle, LPI’s executive director.

Since specifying LPS is part of a best practice risk management approach, LPI has created a short video Designing with Lightning in Mind that reviews five important reasons for including lightning protection systems in building plans.

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 30, 2019, in Breezy Point, NY to celebrate the collaborative completion of the world’s first #HurricaneStrong home. Designed by Illya Azaroff, AIA founder of +Lab Architect, the all-hazard prototype home includes a safety standard compliant lightning protection system donated by LPI and member companies from ECLE and Associated Lightning Rod.

The launch of the 2019 AIA Film Challenge, the Blueprint for Better Film Series will debut a documentary short film, Designed to Last: Blueprint for a Better Home highlighting Azaroff’s collaborative work with federal agencies, building product manufacturers and nonprofit organizations that led to the design of the HurricaneStrong home. Azaroff has made plans for the all-hazard prototype home (which includes a lightning protection system), available to architects and builders for free, as a resource for building disaster resilient homes.

About the Lightning Protection Institute

The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is a not-for-profit, nationwide group founded in 1955 to promote lightning safety, awareness and education and is a leading resource for lightning protection information and system requirements. Visit the LPI website at www.lightning.org for more information.


Join LPI in Las Vegas for the AIA Conference on Architecture 2019! 

The AIA Conference and Expo on Architecture is three-day event where architects exchange innovative information and ideas to shape and transform the future of architecture. From June 6-8, architects from around the world will converge in Las Vegas to uncover everything that’s new, next and cutting-edge for building products, materials, design methods and technology. Naturally, LPI will participate in the design event of the year to showcase what’s new and noteworthy in the world of lightning protection. Architects, designers and builders are invited to join LPI at AIA Expo booth #6348 to pick-up Build & Protect resources to help A&E’s learn more about lightning protection and the benefits of incorporating safety Standard-compliant systems into their project designs and plans.

Join LPI in Las Vegas for three days of fast-paced, hard-hitting ideas, inspiration, education, networking, and innovation from some of the industry-leading architects, firms, and building product manufacturers.

What: Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) Booth #6348 at A’19 
Where: Las Vegas Convention Center Architectural Expo 
When: Thursday, June 6 & Friday, June 7, 2019.
Expo Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

For more information about the AIA conference and Expo, visit https://conferenceonarchitecture.com/or look for the hashtag, #A19CON to follow the conference news on social media channels.