MARYVILLE, Mo., May 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- May is National Electrical Safety Month and the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is joining with the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) to raise awareness about the importance of electrical safety—including lightning, an underrated and often forgotten electrical hazard. Lightning is the rapid discharge of atmospheric electricity that can pack up to 100 million volts of power. A lightning strike to an unprotected structure can be disastrous and a single incident can cost thousands of dollars, with losses ranging from damage to expensive electronics to fires that destroy entire buildings.
Power and generation systems, gas and water piping, and enhanced communication lines have created induction problems for today's structures, allowing lightning's access through energized lines or system grounds.
When a lightning protection system complies with national safety standards, it provides a practical and tested solution to protect a structure, its occupants, contents, equipment and operations. A complete system includes: strike termination devices, conductors, ground terminals, interconnecting bonding to minimize side flashing, and surge protection devices for incoming power, data and communication lines to prevent harmful electrical surges. Additional connectors, fittings or bonding for CSST gas piping may be required and surge protection devices for vulnerable appliances may be needed, as well.
The grounding network provided by a properly installed system is a total package protection approach, but the package is incomplete without adherence to national safety standards.
The lightning protection industry is increasingly concerned about growing news reports of lightning-induced fires and building evacuations occurring at structures where non-standard lightning protection systems have been installed.
"There are vendors out there pitching 'new technology' systems and devices which make claims to prevent lightning attachment," said Bud VanSickle, executive director for the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI). "The fact that these devices don't comply with U.S. safety standards and are refuted by independent lightning experts should raise serious questions with every, engineer, architect or building planner responsible for selecting lightning protection systems."
LPI is reminding engineers and building planners to carefully review their specifications for lightning protection to make sure they comply with recognized safety standards of LPI, NFPA and UL. Information about lightning protection design in accordance with safety standards is available at www.lightning-risk.org or www.lightningsafetyalliance.org.
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) sponsors National Electrical Safety Month each May to increase public awareness of electrical hazards. For more information about ESFI and electrical safety, visit www.esfi.org.
LPI is a not-for-profit, nationwide group founded in 1955 to promote lightning safety, awareness and protection education. The organization provides a certification program to qualify competence in lightning protection installation, design and inspection. Visit the LPI website at www.lightning.org for more information.
SOURCE Lightning Protection Institute