As weather experts, insurers, and homeowners keep a close watch on the Atlantic Ocean Basin for hurricane activity this summer, weather experts caution people across the nation not to underestimate the destructive and deadly force of thunderstorms and lightning, which occur far more often and directly affect more of the U.S. than hurricanes.
According to the National Weather Service, every thunderstorm produces lightning. On average, 300 people are injured and 80 people are killed each year in the U.S. by lightning.
Property losses related to lightning strikes exceed $1 billion annually, according to insurance industry data. These losses can range from damage to expensive electronic equipment fires that destroy an entire house or business.
For lightning protection, a whole-house/building surge protector is the best starting point for reducing the risk of damage. It is important to make sure that it is either a secondary surge arrestor tested to IEEE C62.11 or a transient voltage suppressor that has been tested to UL 1449, 2nd Edition.
A number of power companies have programs to provide and install the whole-building surge protection. If this is not available in your area, consult a your power company.
However, for best results, the protection should extend beyond the whole-building surge protection.
The experts recommend:
*Install additional protection for important or expensive electronic equipment. This should include localized surge protection for power cords to the equipment and any telephone and cable/satellite TV lines connecting to the equipment.
These devices are available at most home improvement and electronics stores.
*Have a licensed electrician or competent home/building inspector review the power, telephone, electrical and cable/satellite TV connections to your building. Have them check to make sure that you have adequate grounding of the power line connection and your power distribution panel.
All of the utilities should enter the structure within 10 feet of the electrical service entrance ground wire and be bonded to that grounding point.
Thunderstorms do not receive as much notoriety as hurricanes or the other perils of Mother Nature, but they are a force to be reckoned with, emphasize the experts.
Preparing your home or business will you give you peace of mind knowing that you will be better protected when thunderstorms strike your area.