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Lightning Damage and Protection

Lightning damage and protection

By: Mike Huss, Loss Control Supervisor
Lightning damage is a costly and frequent occurrence. According to Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL), lightning accounts for more than $1 billion in structural damage in the U.S. each year.  Loss of computer equipment or data in business networks due to lightning damage is also common.  Lightning can strike anywhere, but the damage it does is manageable or preventable in most cases because it is usually caused by nearby lightning activity that creates surges in wiring.  If electronics take a direct bolt of lightning there is little you can do to prevent damage, but direct strikes are thankfully not common.
Lightning protection and how it works - a lightning protection system is designed to prevent physical damage to people and buildings, and to protect against internal system equipment failure. All protective systems are based on the fundamental principle of providing a low-resistance path for a lightning current to follow as it passes from roof level to underground.  There are five basic elements that need to be in place to provide an effective protection system:  1) strike termination devices, 2) cable conductors, 3) a grounding electrode system, 4) bonding, and 5) surge protection devices.
Contact a certified electrical contractor to evaluate your electrical wiring and grounding components.  If you have two-prong outlets in your walls, you are not receiving the benefits of electrical grounding. It may be worthwhile to have new outlets/wiring for your computers and entertainment equipment.
RESEARCH INSTALLING A LIGHTNING ROD
Excellent grounding in your building wiring means lightning travels to the ground wiring instead of damaging your equipment

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