With the Atlantic Hurricane Season in full swing through November, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) are working to spread awareness of a less recognized, yet more frequent weather hazard: lightning. According to new data compiled by Impact Forecasting and released by the Insurance Information Institute (III), U.S. insurance and reinsurance markets saw record costs from thunderstorms and convective weather; with 5.7 billion losses cited in the first-quarter of 2017.

“Lightning is a real danger to you, your home, and your electronics that many people don’t take seriously,” said ESFI President, Brett Brenner. “A single bolt of lightning can cause electrical surges capable of damaging or destroying sensitive equipment. Luckily, you can prepare your home and protect your electronics from this unpredictable, yet common hazard.”

Unplug, use protective devices

With severe weather, hurricanes, and thunderstorms still prevalent in fall months, ESFI reminds the public to protect their property by unplugging appliances and other electrical items, such as computers and televisions, to prevent damage from surges caused by lightning strikes. Point-of-use surge protection devices can help prevent damage to your electronics, but can’t safeguard against a direct lightning strike, which can carry as much as 300 million volts of electricity and 30,000 amps. If you live in an area prone to lightning, consider a Lightning Protection System (LPS).

“When you compare lightning’s mega electricity with a typical household electrical current of 120 volts and 15 amps, you understand how devastating a lightning strike can be to an unprotected home,” explained Bud VanSickle, Executive Director of the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI). “Fortunately, home and business owners needn’t take their chances with lightning, as a professionally-installed LPS that follows national safety standards can prevent damage by providing a safe electrical path into the earth for lightning’s destructive energy.”

Safety Standard-compliant LPS is a package approach which includes a system to ground the structure, a primary SPD (or SPD’s) for the service entrance and sometimes secondary surge protection at the point of use for high-end equipment or appliances. The LPS provides a network of low-resistance paths to safely intercept lightning’s dangerous electricity and direct it to ground without impact to the structure or its occupants. When lightning’s electricity is confined to a properly designed conductive path via the LPS, damage is minimized or eliminated. When considering lightning protection, LPI emphasizes the importance of contracting with a qualified and experienced LPI-certified specialist, as the technology is a specialty trade and expertise is required for system design and installation.

About the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI)

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) warns consumers to be aware of electrical dangers associated with severe storms and the resulting floods and power outages. Deaths and injuries during the summer months are frequently caused by post-storm electrical hazards. ESFI is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety. For more information about ESFI and electrical safety, visit www.esfi.org.

About the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI)

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 and system requirements.  Visit the LPI website at www.lightning.org for more information.