Homes at Risk to Fires Sparked by Lightning

* In Support of National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 22-28,


Jun 20, 2008, 01:00 ET from Lightning Safety Alliance

    HARTFORD, Conn., June 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Your home should be
 a safe haven. But even the most safety-conscious homeowner may not have
 considered a risk that affects thousands of homeowners each year. During
 the four-year period from 2002 to 2005, the National Fire Protection
 Association (NFPA) estimated that U.S. fire departments responded annually
 to roughly 31,400 fires started by lightning. These fires caused an
 estimated $213 million in direct property damage each year, based on data
 from the U.S. Fire Administration's National Fire Incident Reporting System
 and the NFPA's annual fire department experience survey. Despite these
 staggering statistics, lightning is often overlooked as a specific peril,
 even though substantial claims and great devastation result from it. What's
 unique about lightning is that it doesn't discriminate according to the
 region of the country -- most areas are susceptible to lightning strikes.
 Since lightning strikes more than 250,000 times per year and the vast
 majority of homes in the U.S. do not have lightning protection systems,
 there is a real potential for danger and destruction.
     For homeowners who don't want to take a chance with lightning, a
 professionally installed lightning protection system is a viable idea. A
 lightning protection system provides a low resistance path to safely
 intercept lightning's dangerous electricity and direct it to ground without
 impact to the structure or its occupants. 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. When
 considering lightning protection, the LPI stresses the importance of
 consumers contracting with qualified and experienced UL-listed and
 LPI-certified specialists who are trained to install systems in accordance
 with the nationally-recognized safety standards of UL, NFPA and LPI.
     "Homeowners need to be aware that installation of a system is not a
 do-it-yourself project," says Bud VanSickle, executive director for LPI.
 "It's important to have an experienced professional install the lightning
 protection system, since improper installation can lead to serious
 consequences--and may be worse than having no protection at all."
     The LPI certifies individuals through a Master Installer testing
 program to maximize safety through education and offers a database list of
 certified contractors on its web site. For a list of certified contractors
 and other information regarding the national safety standards for lightning
 protection installation, visit the LPI website at
     From June 22-28, 2008, lightning safety advocates will support the
 annual national "Lightning Safety Awareness Week" campaign, launched by the
 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2000. More
 information about National Lightning Safety Awareness Week can be found at

SOURCE Lightning Safety Alliance