As National Lightning Awareness Week (June 24-30, 2012) continues, A Flash of Light urges all property owners to take extra precautions. While Mother Nature may be unpredictable, there are ways to reduce the chances of lightning-related destruction.
One way, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), is to install a whole-house/building surge protector. Lightning protection systems are designed to protect a structure and provide a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of a lightning bolt; they will not protect against a direct strike. The system works by receiving the strike and routing it harmlessly into the ground.
Other recommendations from IBHS include:
- Unplug electronic equipment.
- Know the important difference between a surge suppressor and a power strip. A power strip plugs into your wall outlet and allows you to plug in multiple electronic devices. However, a power strip does not protect equipment from being damaged by a power spike. A surge protector also gives the user the ability to plug in multiple electronic devices, but it also serves another very important function in that it also protects your electronic devices from a power spike.
- Connect telephone, cable/satellite TV and network lines to a surge suppressor.
- Make sure the surge suppressor has an indicator light so you know it is working properly.
- Ensure the surge suppressor has been tested.
- Purchase a surge suppressor with a Joule rating of over 1,000. The Joule rating typically ranges from 200 up to several thousand – the higher the number the better.
- Look for a surge suppressor with a clamping voltage rating (voltage at which the protector will conduct the electricity to ground) between 330 v, which is typical, to 400 v.
- Purchase a surge suppressor with a response time less than 1 nanosecond.
- Do not cut corners. You don’t want to protect a $1,000 television or computer system with a $10 surge protector, for $25 and up you can provide much better protection
- Have a licensed electrician or home/building inspector review the power, telephone, electrical and cable/satellite TV connections to your office building/home.
For additional information, visit DisasterSafety.org/lightning.