MARYVILLE, Mo., Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) is sponsoring a "Campaign to Help Build Lightning Safe Communities" as a continuation of its recent initiative to provide lightning protection resources to the public and the fire safety community. LPI-certified master installer firms are participating in the campaign to provide complimentary lightning protection systems for designated fire stations in several high risk lightning regions of the U.S. including: Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Toledo. LPI organized the campaign donations when outreach with the fire safety community revealed that many stations across the country were lacking lightning protection systems to protect their personnel, structures and equipment.
"There are situations where the need for lightning protection should be given serious consideration," said Bud VanSickle, LPI executive director. "Lightning can cause failures of internal building systems, damage equipment and ignite structural fires. Fortunately, lightning protection systems can provide critical security for service structures like fire stations," explained VanSickle.
According to a 2010 NFPA analysis, titled "Lightning Fires and Lightning Strikes," fire departments in the U.S. responded to an estimated 24,600 lightning fires per year from 2004 to 2008. These fires were responsible for civilian and firefighter deaths, injuries and approximately $407 million in preventable property damage. Statistics for lightning fires are typically obtained from the Office of Services and the National Climatic Data Center, the U.S. Fire Administration's (USFA) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the NFPA's annual survey of U.S. fire departments. Since reporting sources are often voluntary, only an estimated number of lightning fires are typically cited.
"As first responders, our firefighters play a critical role in lightning safety and the protection education process," said Jeff Harger, of HLP Systems. Harger is a LPI master installer member who is facilitating a lightning protection system for the Libertyville Fire Department Headquarters in Libertyville, IL. "Part of LPI's campaign message is to remind fire professionals to include information about lightning incidents in their NFIRS and NFPA reports where relevant. Accurate reporting can prevent apathy against a destructive hazard and increase awareness about a preventable fire risk, explained Harger."
The NFPA also publishes the NFPA 780 Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems which is a valuable resource for reducing lightning risks.
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. The LPI certifies individuals for the installation of lightning protection systems through a Master Installer testing program to qualify competence. LPI recently introduced a third-party inspection program for quality assurance. Information about follow-up inspection services can be found at www.lpi-ip.com. For a list of certified contractors and other information about national safety standards for lightning protection installation, visit the LPI website at www.lightning.org.
SOURCE Lightning Protection Institute