IBHS Offers Guidance on Preventing Lightning-Related Damage to Homes and Businesses
TAMPA (June 20, 2014) – It’s summertime and as the temperature increases so do the chances for thunderstorm and lightning activity. Next week is Lightning Safety Awareness Week and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) reminds people to take steps to prevent lightning-related damage to their homes and businesses.
“Summer can be a carefree time of year, but it’s also a time when more lightning strikes occur because of the increased number of thunderstorms,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. “A strike to an unprotected structure could be devastating, but there are things you can do to prevent a catastrophic event from happening.”
“To truly protect your home or business and its contents, consider investing in a certified lightning protection system to reduce the risk of damage. Contact your local utility company to inquire about programs to provide and install these systems; many companies provide this service. If this is not available in your area, consult a licensed electrician to install the system,” Rochman said.
Additional steps home and business owners can take to protect appliances and electronic devices from power surges caused by lightning strikes include:
- Plug electronic devices (laptops, DVD players, etc.) into a surge protection device, not a power strip. Both allow you to connect multiple electronics to a power source; however, a power strip does not protect against a spike in electrical power. A surge protection device, however, protects devices from such spikes.
- Connect telephone, cable and/or satellite TV and network lines to a surge protection device.
- Check the packaging labels to be sure the surge protection device has been tested to UL 1449.
- Purchase a surge protection device with a Joule rating of over 1,000. The Joule rating typically ranges from 200 up to several thousand.Remember, the higher the number the better.
- Look for a surge protection device with a clamping voltage rating (voltage at which the protector will conduct the electricity to ground) between 330 v to 400 v.
“Lightning is one of those severe weather events that doesn’t command as much attention but causes an estimated $1 billion a year in property damage. We must acknowledge lightning’s power and do what we can to protect our structures and the valuable belongings inside them from the effects of a strike,” Rochman said.
For more IBHS guidance on lightning protection, visit www.disastersafety.org/lightning.
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About the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research and communications organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks on residential and commercial property by conducting building science research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparedness practices. Visit www.DisasterSafety.org for more information about creating resilient communities and the FORTIFIED Home program.