MEDIA ADVISORY: Lightning Safety Awareness Week Kicks Off with Twitter Chat on Monday, June 25, at 2 p.m., EDT

Please note: This release was distributed by the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) on the behalf of The Lightning Protection Institute on June 22, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA ADVISORY: Lightning Safety Awareness Week Kicks Off with Twitter Chat on Monday, June 25, at 2 p.m., EDT

Arlington, Va., June 22, 2018 —The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) are joining forces on Monday, June 25, at 2 p.m., EDT, for their first-ever public Twitter Chat accessible in real time at #LightningSafetyWeek.

The LPI-ESFI partnership comes on the second day of Lightning Safety Awareness Week (LSAW), which is being marked this year from June 24-30, 2018.

The annual campaign aims to educate the public about lightning safety and lightning protection with the hope of reducing electrical fires, electrical injuries, and electrocutions caused by lightning.

To receive more information about Monday, June 25’s Twitter Chat, email andrea.vinas@esfi.org.

RELATED LINKS

Facts and Statistics: Lightning
Infographic: Building Resilient Communities with Lightning Protection Systems
News Release: Building Lightning Safe to Protect People, Property and Places
Reduce Lightning Damage to Homes
Reduce Lightning Damage to Businesses

Protecting “People, Property and Places” is LPI’s Focus of this Year’s National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 24-30

More people are killed and injured by lightning during the summer months than any other time of year. Many lightning deaths and injuries in the U.S. happen when people simply opt for convenience instead of disrupting outdoor plans. Ignoring lightning’s potential dangers, is a risk not worth taking!

Recognizing lightning’s underrated dangers, the National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), launched the National Lightning Safety Awareness Week campaign in 2001. Since the beginning of the campaign, lightning deaths in the U.S. have dramatically dropped-with an all-time record low of 16 deaths reported just last year. Unfortunately, property and structural losses due to lightning continue to rise with reports of lightning fires occurring daily in states across the U.S.

“National Lightning Safety Awareness Week is a good time to learn more about the dangers of lightning. We want people to understand these dangers so they make more informed decisions to protect themselves, their family, and their property,” said John Jensenius, National Weather Service lightning safety specialist.

“As the media continues to share daily reports of devastating home and building fires sparked by lightning—in nearly every part of the country—we are reminding property owners, builders, insurance providers and fire safety professionals that these losses can be prevented when lightning protection systems are installed for structures,” shared Bud Van Sickle, executive director for the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI).

In support of this year’s Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 24-30, LPI is stressing the importance of protecting people, property and places. Together, with partners at the National Lightning Safety Council, LPI is promoting awareness and sharing safety information throughout the week on seven important topics:

LPI and NLSC invite educators and public officials to help build lightning safe communities! Learn about lightning safety and risk reduction at lightningsafetycouncil.org and find out about the benefits of safety standard compliant lightning protection systems at lightning.org.

ESFI & LPI Co-Host a Twitter Chat For Lightning Safety Awareness Week!

Be sure to join the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) later this month as we partner to host a Twitter Chat during Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 24-30, 2018.

#LightningSafetyWeek aims to educate the public about lightning safety and lightning protection with the hope of reducing electrical fires, electrical injuries, and electrocutions caused by lightning. ESFI and LPI are calling upon our network of electrical safety ambassadors and our building lightning safe communities supporters to be a part of the dialogue!

The chat will take place on Monday, June 25th, 2018 at 2 p.m.  EDT. RSVP and receive more information by emailing andrea.vinas@esfi.org or participate in real time on Twitter using the hashtag #LightningSafetyWeek.

Mark your calendars for Monday, June 25 and be sure to join the enlightening conversation for #LightningSafetyWeek!

 

 

Four ways to prepare for the dog days of summer to take the bite out of lightning’s increased threat.

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer and summertime fun in the great outdoors. As the onset of summer ushers in elevated thunderstorm activity, here are four things Americans can do to better prepare themselves for the lightning threat.

1. Take the lightning threat seriously.

Most lightning victims are steps away from lightning safety—a reminder not to be apathetic about lightning. Although approximately 90% of lightning victims survive being struck by lightning, injuries can be severe and debilitating, as detailed in this video. Remember to heed lightning’s warning “bark.” If you hear thunder five seconds after you see a lightning flash, you can estimate that lightning is about a mile away, and too close for comfort. Since no place outside is safe from lightning, be sure to practice this simple, yet life-saving safety advice: When thunder roars, stay indoors!

2. Plan ahead to avoid the risk, but know what to do if unexpected weather strikes.

Remember to plan ahead for outdoor activities by checking weather forecasts and monitoring changing weather conditions. When in a group, make sure to have an agreed upon lightning plan in place and be ready to act in time to get everyone to a safe place when unexpected weather conditions warrant a quick response. If a safe place is not available, these safety tips may reduce your chances of being struck when caught outdoors.

3. Get to know lightning to understand its dangers. 

Learning more about the science of lightning can go a long way to helping humans understand more about how lightning impacts people, places and property. Just in time for summer storm season, the lightning experts at Vaisala have published, “So You Think You Know Lightning: A Collection of Electrifying Fast Facts!” The fun and easy-to-read booklet is designed to help the young and old understand the basics about lightning physics, safety and detection.

4. Learn the facts to help dispel the fallacies about lightning safety and protection.

Despite increased awareness about the dangers of lightning and the benefits of lightning protection systems, misunderstandings about safety measures persist. Unfortunately, repeated myths about lightning and false claims about lightning protection have put people and property at risk. The Lightning Protection Institute frequently posts blogs and Q&A information to help separate fact from fallacy about lightning safety and lightning protection.

Benjamin Franklin was right when he coined the phrase, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Although the quote is frequently used when referring to health, historians say that Franklin actually was addressing fire safety—and perhaps his invention of the lightning rod, as well. Preventing lightning deaths, injuries and property losses before they happen is why the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) continues to collaborate with like-minded partners to develop lightning safety and lightning protection resources. Visit lightning.org to learn more and be sure to share LPI’s resources to help further lightning safety in your community!

Building Safety Month Is Right Time To Assess Lightning’s Dangers

Lightning Protection Systems are best way to ground dangerous electricity

MARYVILLE, Mo.May 7, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Lightning poses a threat to life and property, with structural fires regularly caused due to either a direct strike or because lightning’s electricity has surged through a structure’s wiring, according to the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI).

“To protect the structures they own from lightning-caused damage, business and home owners should seriously consider installing a Lightning Protection System (LPS),” said Bud VanSickle, executive director, LPI.  “Lightning Protection Systems safely ground lightning’s dangerous electricity without impact to the structure, its occupants or contents when installed properly.”

The LPI is highlighting the importance of Lightning Protection Systems as the International Code Council (ICC) marks the second week (May 6-12, 2018) of its annual Building Safety Month with a focus on “Advancing Resilient Communities Through Science and Technology.”

To coincide with the ICC’s Building Safety Month, the LPI released this week an infographic on the importance of ‘Building Lightning Safe Communities to Weather the Storm.’

“Resilience starts with strong, regularly updated, and properly implemented building codes. So, whether you’re considering renovating, remodeling, or building from the ground up, look for the latest technology and make sure it is based on the codes and standards that put safety and efficiency first,” states the ICC’s website, in a section on how Science & Technology are leading the way when it comes to building safety.

Given the growing interest in LPS and the beneficial role these systems play in building safety, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) updates its Safety Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems (NFPA 780) every three years.

Homeowners insurers nationwide paid out $826 million to help more than 100,000 policyholders recover economically from lightning-caused property damage in 2016,” said Michael Barry, Head of Media and Public Affairs at the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).  “Policyholders who are debating whether to install a Lightning Protection System should ask their insurer if they offer discounts for LPS-equipped structures.”

Florida—the state with the most thunderstorms—remained the top state for lightning claims in 2016, with 10,385, followed by Texas (9,098), and Georgia (8,037), according to the I.I.I.

Founded in 1955, the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is a not-for-profit, nationwide group to promote lightning safety, awareness and education and is a leading resource for lightning protection and system requirements. Visit the LPI website at http://lightning.org for more information about lightning protection system requirements and how to locate a LPI-certified specialist in your area. For information about third-party inspection and certification services for Lightning Protection Systems, visit www.lpi-ip.com or view this infographic for highlights of the LPI-IP services.

SOURCE Lightning Protection Institute

 

Tending to the Trees: An Earth Day reminder that lightning protection helps keep trees healthy & green!

“They are beautiful in their peace, they are wise in their silence. They will stand after we are dust.  They teach us, and we tend them.”
~ Galeain ip Altiem MacDunelmor

Today is officially “Earth Day” which sparks an important question: Are you tending to your trees?

Even if you aren’t a full-fledged tree-hugger, you probably know that lightning is nature’s most frequent peril and hence a tree’s most-feared predator.  Lightning damages and kills more trees than we can account for in the U.S.  A single bolt of lightning can carry 100 million volts of electricity, so unless a tree is equipped with a lightning protection system, it can be extremely vulnerable to the common weather hazard. Lightning can injure the tree from a direct hit or side flash (lightning jumping from a nearby object), and problems can vary from light limb damage, to total annihilation.

Lightning’s electrical charge can boil the liquid sap, causing natural gases in the tree to expand, which in turn cause the phloem (bark) to split open or the tree to literally explode.  Lightning’s current utilizes the high resistance wood as a conductor, causing massive damage as it transverses tree components on its way to ground.  In some instances, the only evidence of a lightning strike may be the internal browning of the xylem (water-conducting woody tissue), which causes a gradual decay of the tree.

In honor of Earth Day 2018, LPI is re-posting these commonly-asked questions about trees, lightning and lightning protection:

Q. Are there risk factors or conditions that apply regarding a tree’s vulnerability to lightning?

A. Geographic location, species/type of tree and height are factors that may apply.  According to agricultural specialists, lightning is most likely to strike trees under these conditions:

  • lone trees
  • tallest trees in a group or tallest tree at the end of a group of trees
  • trees growing in moist soil or close to a body of water
  • trees closest to a building or structure

 Q. Are some trees more vulnerable to lightning than others?

A. Trees most vulnerable to lightning (those with high starch content) include: maple, ash, poplar, pine, oak, hemlock, elm and sycamore.  Large oak trees are often vulnerable due to their size or prominence. Trees less vulnerable (those with high oil content) include: birch, beech and chestnut.

 Q. Why should property owners consider lightning protection for trees?

A. Any trees that are valued for landscaping, sentimental or historical reasons should be protected, including those trees which add aesthetic value to the property. 

 Q. How does a lightning protection system protect a tree from damage?

A. A copper cable and grounding system is used to intercept lightning’s harmful electricity and conduct it safely underground and away from the tree, so that no damage occurs to the wood or the roots.  The principle employed for tree lightning protection (in accordance with NFPA 780 Safety Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems) is the same concept that protects homes and buildings. 

 Q. Does the tree lightning protection system also provide protection for nearby structures on the property?

A. No. The system provides protection for the tree only.  Separate lightning protection systems should be considered to protect structures on the property.

 Q. What kind of maintenance is needed for a tree lightning protection system?

A.  An annual visual check of the tree should be made by the property owner or maintenance manager to ensure all elements of the system remain connected and in place.  Occasionally, additional cable runs, air terminals or grounding components may need to be added to accommodate tree growth.  It’s also important to check lightning protection cables at the base of the tree to ensure no system interruption or damage has occurred from weed trimming, lawnmowers, or ground excavation.

 Q. Who can install the lightning protection system?

A. Be sure to contact a UL-listed, LPI-certified lightning protection specialist or a qualified arborist to ensure your system is installed in accordance with national safety standards.

 In most situations, a tree struck by lightning will continue to decline over time and eventually require removal. Most trees succumb to disease or death more quickly if the lightning strike passes completely through the trunk (streaks of splintered bark are typically visible on both sides of the tree when this occurs).  Typically, property owners will notice signs of decay within two weeks of a lightning strike. Since few trees survive a direct lightning strike, it may be good insurance for property owners to consider lightning protection for vulnerable trees, specimen trees, historic trees or trees over public shelters. 

So in the spirit of Earth Day 2018, “let’s get planting!” And, if you want to keep your trees healthy for years to come, don’t forget the lightning protection. Think of your lightning protection system as the hug that keeps on giving, to keep your tree “green” and living!

Lightning Protection Inspection Program Expands Services to Meet Industry Needs for Quality Control and Service

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill – April 9, 2018 – Increased education about lightning losses and the availability of safety standard-compliant lightning protection is furthering an understanding of best practices for lightning protection system (LPS) design, installation and inspection. Recognizing a need for more stringent emphasis on quality control, the Lightning Protection Institute Inspection Program (LPI-IP), is expanding its services for third-party lightning protection review and certification.

The construction market is increasingly relying on LPI-IP for lightning protection system inspection with the program seeing a 300% growth since beginnings, and a 44% increase in users in 2017.

“LPI-IP is the only third-party certifying organization that verifies lightning protection system completeness, proper materials and methods, code compliance, and notification for future assessments; including needed repairs or maintenance,” said Tim Harger, LPI-IP program manager. “Ensuring lightning protection compliance to national safety standards and project specifications is an essential part of quality control for construction managers, property owners and building occupants—reasons why LPI-IP’s services are increasingly in demand in the marketplace,” explained Harger.

To accommodate construction market and consumer needs, the program now offers four service options: Master Installation Certificate Inspection, Extended Master Installation Certificate Inspection, Reconditioned Master Installation Certificate Inspection and Limited Scope Inspection. All options provide cost-effective inspection services to ensure LPS compliance with national safety standards.

“Knowing where to turn for up-to-date and accurate information about lightning protection can be difficult,” said Bud VanSickle, executive director of the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI). “By incorporating checkpoints, reviews and inspections, the LPI-IP certification program is ensuring safety and peace of mind to building owners throughout the U.S.”

The construction market appears to be increasingly relying on LPI-IP for lightning protection inspection services—the program has seen a 300% growth rate since its beginnings in 2011 and a 44% increase in users in 2017.

Key features of the LPI-IP Inspection Program include:

  • A three-year expiration date which complements the NFPA 780 three-year code review cycle and process to keep pace with technology.
  • Services applicable for a wide-range of inspection needs; including commercial, industrial, military, medical, educational and residential projects.
  • LPI-IP inspections are accepted in MasterSpec as a quality control inspection option for lightning protection systems.
  • Design review by a professional engineer, documentation of concealed components and verification of grounding and NRTL* field inspection of rooftop lightning protection.
  • Users are offered the option of Standard specific inspections (LPI175, NFPA 780 and/or UL96A), and extended certification covering Military specifications to accommodate market needs and a wider range of projects.

For safety and quality assurance, LPI-IP provides certification for lightning protection which complies with U.S. nationally-recognized safety standards, only.

For more information about the LPI-IP Program, visit www.lpi-ip.com view this infographic for highlights of the LPI-IP services.

For additional information about lightning protection and lightning safety, visit the Lightning Protection Institute website at http://www.lightning.org

*Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory

 

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