Lightning Strikes: Are You Protected and Can You Do More
First, let’s talk about your home. If you have a lightning protection system, it must be designed to provide a specified path to harness and safely ground the current generated from the lightning strike.
If installed correctly a protection system neither attracts nor repels, it merely protects in the event of a lightning strike. A proper system will route the charge into the earth, thus discharging the dangerous electrical current.
The systems can be called a whole-house surge protector, and in many cases your local power company would have the systems available, and will install them. Obviously, there will be costs involved, but replacing computers, phones, appliances and any device that may be plugged in during a surge is costly as well, not to mention the possibility of an electrical fire, and the inconvenience of replacing everything.
Insurance may or may not cover your devices if you do not have surge protectors installed. Read your policy carefully.
You can localize your protection by installing surge protectors at user points. One for the television, one for the computer, phone system and so on. These devices can be installed in addition to a whole-home protection system. The cost for individual surge protectors are of course considerably less expensive, and the protectors can be purchased at virtually any home and garden store, Wal-Mart, Target and so on.
Quality is important so make sure they are surge protectors and not just power strips. Surge protectors may offer a guarantee, and will pay to replace or repair. You have to check the warranty out carefully, so you know how much, and what type of damage it would cover.
There are of course, certain conditions that have to be met. You likely have to register the product and use it in the manner it was designed for obviously, but the point is they do offer this guarantee, so you can reasonably expect it to provide a certain level of protection.
Did You Know
Your home’s electrical system must be properly grounded in accordance with applicable electrical codes. In addition, if you have telephone, cable or satellite television all cables/wiring must also be bonded to the same grounding point.
Grounding (the short answer) is a method used to connect a home’s electrical system to the earth. Typically, a grounding rod is used and it is driven a number of feet into the ground. This method provides a third path to conduct the electricity flow. If your home’s electrical system is not grounded properly, you could be the third path in some cases, if a strike happens and you could be electrocuted ( Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, 2012).
Your Personal Protection:
Direct Lightning Strike
You can be injured or killed by lighting other than by a direct strike, so always keep this in mind, you do not have to be struck directly to be seriously injured or killed.
A direct strike means a person has become a part of the main lightning discharge. Typically a person is directly struck when exposed in open areas.
A side flash or sometimes called a “side splash” occurs when a person is next to something that is struck such as a tree or even a building. The current will jump from the taller object to the person.
Lighting can also strike an object and the current can jump to the ground and travel along the ground and enter a person’s body. This is called ground current and the current can travel through structures along the floor if there is conductive material present.
Lightning can travel a considerable distance along metal fences, through metal tent poles and so forth. In a storm you certainly do not want to be touching any metal object outdoors such as a fence or metal tent poles or even near any metal object to prevent side splash (NOAA, n.d.).
Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. (2012). Retrieved 2015, from https://www.disastersafety.org/lightning/protect-your-home/
NOAA. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/struck.htm