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

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, 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 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:



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

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 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 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 look for the hashtag, #A19CON to follow the conference news on social media channels.

Lightning Dangers Emphasized During Building Safety and Electrical Safety Months

As warm weather approaches, lightning protection becomes paramount

MARYVILLE, Mo. (May 14, 2019) — With the summer storm season just ahead, building managers and owners must be ready to protect lives and property against lightning strikes, says the Lightning Protection Institute, a not-for-profit, nationwide group dedicated to promoting lightning awareness, education and safety.

“Lightning strikes the U.S. about 25 million times a year, according to the National Weather Service, and summer is the peak season for lightning storms. That makes Building Safety Month and Electrical Safety Month, both in May, the ideal reminder to consider ways to manage lightning risk, save lives and protect property,” says Bud VanSickle, LPI’s executive director.

Electrical Safety Foundation International promotes Electrical Safety Month annually as a way to raise awareness of proper installation and management of electrical systems. The International Code Council’s Building Safety Month campaign is designed to raise awareness about building safety.

The Insurance Information Institute reports that thunderstorms and convective weather resulted in a record-breaking $5.7 billion in claims in the first quarter of 2017. In May 2018, a single “ring-of-fire” weather system of wind, hail and rainstorms resulted in over $2.5 billion in estimated damages.

In terms of overall losses, lightning outranks destruction from fires, explosions, earthquakes and vandalism. Annually, lightning-related property losses exceed $2 billion, according to Loretta Worters, a vice president with  the Insurance Information Institute.

“Lightning can cause destruction of critical data resources, downed operations and lost business,” Worters says. “These potential claims can be significantly mitigated by having the proper protection systems in place.”

While lightning can’t be prevented, the damage can be mitigated with lightning protection systems (LPS). LPI’s Build and Protect program is helping to create lightning-safe communities by encouraging architects and builders to make LPS part of the design and construction process.

Smart Investment

“Lightning protection is an important building safety component,” says VanSickle. “The payoff of including LPS in a project can be significant when you consider the cost of protecting against strikes is less than 1% of a new building’s cost.”

LPI is asking insurance carriers to promote LPS and offer discounts to policyholders who install them, similar to the discounts policyholders receive for installing fire and burglar alarms. Three to 5% of all commercial insurance claims involve lightning strikes, VanSickle points out.

“Unlike other natural, insurable events, lightning damage is a reliably preventable occurrence. Lightning protection — especially when inspected and certified by the LPI Inspection Program  (LPI-IP) — is economical, prudent and proven. It saves lives and safeguards property,” adds VanSickle.

How Systems Work

The National Fire Protection Association has set national lightning safety standards that LPI-certified designers, installers and inspectors follow. Certified protection systems use UL-listed materials to intercept a lightning strike and safely disperse it into the ground without impact to the structure, occupants or contents. In addition, these systems protect against electrical surges in power, data and communication lines and vulnerable appliances.

Lightning is a special concern for smart buildings and homes. One strike can damage connected devices and cause irreparable damage to sensitive equipment and data. LPS can prevent costly downtime and lost revenue when buildings are zapped.

As lightning protection systems gain widespread acceptance, VanSickle says property owners should insist on systems designed and installed by lightning protection professionals, and that those systems should be inspected and certified by a nationally accepted third party.

LPI’s testing and certification program was created in 1971 by the industry to qualify competence in lightning protection. The program responds to the needs of government agencies, architectural and engineering firms and insurance underwriters to certify excellence in system design, installation and inspection.

About the Lightning Protection Institute

The Lightning Protection Institute ( 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.


Build & Protect April 2019 Edition

Download newsletter copy with click-through links, here:

Lightning Protection Institute Inspection Program Announces National Lightning Safety Initiative

“Now you have it. Will it work?” Double Check.

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill., April 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Lightning Protection Institute Inspection Program  (“LPI-IP”), announces its national lightning safety initiative, “Double Check.” Check 1. Have a lightning protection system. Check 2. Have the system inspected and certified.

“People say, ‘I have lightning protection. Isn’t that enough?’ when actually, no, it’s not,” said Tim Harger, LPI-IP program manager. “Double Check was developed to ensure property owners understand this.”

The Double Check initiative advocates independent third-party inspection and certification of professionally designed and installed lightning protection systems in residential and commercial settings.

As lightning protection systems gain widespread acceptance as a necessary life safety application, property owners are encouraged to check both boxes.  Demand systems designed and installed by lightning protection professionals. Demand the system be inspected and certified by a nationally accepted third-party. Because lightning protection systems’ performance depends entirely upon the quality of the manufactured components, system design, installation, and suitability, inspection and certification is a must.

The education push about the need for professionally designed, installed, inspected and certified lightning protection comes as the industry takes a pivotal turn to a higher level of professionalism. Building has become almost entirely dependent on “smart” and traditional technology to power structures and the lives and work of their occupants. Insulating those systems from catastrophic interruption is vital. Architects and engineers are increasingly unwilling to merely “check the box” of specifying lightning protection. More and more they demand robust systems that match the complexity and function of the structures they design and build. They prefer certified lightning protection companies and practitioners with capabilities, processes and resources to meet their projects’ needs efficiently.

LPI-IP is in lockstep with its building and design counterparts in advocating the highest professional standard. Independent third-party inspection and certification is the final word on the quality and efficacy of the systems they specify and trust to protect their projects.

Lightning strikes the U.S. 20 million times each year. Annually, lightning-related property losses exceed $2 billion dollars. Between 3 and 5% of all property and casualty claims involve lightning. At approximately less than 1% of the total construction cost of a commercial or residential project, a quality lightning protection system is a prudent, economical life safety, risk management and mitigation investment.

About the Lightning Protection Institute Inspection Program

The benchmark for independent third-party lightning protection system inspection and certification, LPI-IP is the industry’s most comprehensive inspection program. Since 2010, LPI-IP spans the full spectrum of national standards. Its leadership team and inspectors are experts in the discipline, combining to deliver inspection, certification, specification, design consulting and review, interpretation and other services to meet the needs of property owners, architects, engineers, general contractors and homeowners. For more information, visit

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 for more information.  

For media inquiries, reach Kristen Lunceford at or 561-308-4741.

SOURCE Lightning Protection Institute

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Lightning Protection Systems and Sustainable Design: 5 Reasons for Architects to Design with Lightning in Mind

The benefits of lightning protection are in the forefront of construction with architects making buildings more sustainable, as demonstrated at the Oakland University Human Health Building designed by architects at the SmithGroup. (Photo by Justin Maconochie, courtesty of ECLE)
The benefits of lightning protection are in the forefront of construction with architects making buildings more sustainable, as demonstrated at the Oakland University Human Health Building designed by architects at the SmithGroup. (Photo by Justin Maconochie, courtesy of ECLE)

In Support of Architecture Month

HARTFORD, Conn., April 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — According to the American Institute of Architects, sustainability is a key element of the architecture profession’s approach to design in the 21st century. As architects are tackling a myriad of global challenges, including challenges posed by increasingly unstable weather patterns, more architects and planners are taking a “build” and “protect” approach to design and construction.

Since lightning is a weather hazard that affects people, property and places in nearly every region of the U.S., it’s no surprise that lightning protection systems (LPS) have become increasingly important for the building process.

“Lightning protection is a built-in feature designed to protect structures—both old and new—from a very common, yet highly destructive weather event,” said Bud VanSickle, executive director of the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI). “In an era where technology, delivery methods and construction science are evolving at a lightning-fast pace, specifying lightning protection is part of a best-practice risk management approach.”

“Building design can have a profound impact on the economy, so it’s important that architects and designers embrace a broader concept of sustainability,” said Michael Chusid, RA FCSI, an architect specializing in building materials. “By including lightning protection systems in their owner check-lists, architects can deliver a higher level of quality assurance and value-engineering for resilience.”

Architects who haven’t considered lightning protection, may want to consider these five important reasons for including LPS in building designs and plans.

  1. Affordability – Pricing for LPS typically runs less than 1% the value of a structure; hence often less expensive than security systems, generators and specialty lighting.
  2. Safety Requirements – Insurance, OSHA and risk management authorities are increasingly citing lightning protection measures in their hazard mitigation plans.
  3. Fortifies Technology – Automated building systems and smart structures rely on lightning protection to prevent surge interruptions and costly downtime.
  4. Improves Sustainability – LPS is frequently included on Green and LEED structures as a building resilience measure against a common and highly destructive weather threat.  
  5. Hazard Analysis: Lightning protection is increasingly required when a NFPA 780 Risk Assessment determines a structure’s vulnerability to lightning is greater than its tolerable risk.

“Conducting a lightning risk assessment is the architectural standard of care,” explained Chusid. “Architects who fail to use the NFPA procedure may be professionally liable if lightning damages a building they designed,” he warned. 

The Lightning Protection Institute and the Lightning Safety Alliance are honoring Architecture Month by providing architects with free educational resources about lightning protection and national safety standard requirements for LPS.

Build and Protect Resources for Architects

Related video: The Importance of Lightning Protection for Architects and Engineers 
Continuing education: Lightning Protection 101 (LSA101) AIA/CES Registered Program   
Build & Protect newsletter: Winter 2019 Edition  
LPS materials for A&E’s: Build & Protect portal 
LPS inspection and certification: LPI-IP ProgramRolling sphere animation: YouTube

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 for more information.

About the Lightning Safety Alliance 
The Lightning Safety Alliance (LSA) is a non-profit, national league of lightning protection professionals and consumers dedicated to the promotion of lightning protection and lightning safety. Visit the LSA website at for more information.

SOURCE Lightning Safety Alliance

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