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 www.lightning.org.
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