Prevention through Design (PtD)

Prevention through Design is a new phrase for a good idea — that design decisions can make buildings safer to construct and maintain throughout their life cycle. The concept is finding increased support. For example, The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is promoting PtD, and there is a new LEED pilot credit… Read more »

CN Tower: Struck by Lightning 3000 Times

The CN Tower in Toronto, completed 40 years ago, is hit by lightning about 75 times a year. Fortunately, the nearly 1500 ft. high structure has a lightning protection system. The air terminals, conductors, and grounding electrodes were recently inspected and found to be none-the-worse for wear. photos: Duncan Rawlinson (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Free access to NFPA Lightning Protection Standard

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a global nonprofit standards-writing organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. Their document, NFPA 780 — Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems, is recognized as the basis for lightning protection systems in North America. The standard can… Read more »

National Park Service Centennial

2016 is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. As manager of nearly 80 million acres of land in parks and monuments, the Park Service understands the role of lightning in the natural environment. In many instances, lightning fires in wild areas are allowed to burn as part of the natural eco-cycle. However, the Park… Read more »

Happy Fourth of July from ECLE

ECLE will be closed on Monday, July 4th, so our staff can celebrate Independence Day with our families and friends. While picnics, parades, and pyrotechnics are pleasurable, let’s pause to consider what is really worth celebrating:

Protecting a Landmark

Benjamin Franklin did his seminal work on lightning protection while living in Philadelphia, so it’s no surprise that the Philadelphia Museum of Art honors its hometown hero with artworks in its collection. The first hangs on a Museum wall — the iconic painting of Franklin’s kite-flying experiment. The second is on its roof — a… Read more »

Zaha Hadid, Architect

Since Zaha Hadid, one of the most celebrated architects of our time, died in March, many people have reflected on her bold and innovative designs. We would like to add one more tribute; she was able to integrate even small details into her projects without detracting from her grand schemes. This is evident in how… Read more »

Lightning in Winter? Yes!

Lightning is a year-round threat, as these news items from the past winter remind us. Thundersnow can move across wide storm fronts. “A storm packing blizzard-like conditions, as well as lightning strikes, was expected to deposit several inches of snow… Reports indicated that residents were waking up to a nasty brew of heavy snow, fierce… Read more »

Damage Caused by Single Lightning Storm

Consider the extent of damage caused by just a single lightning storm: Knocked out power to a major international airport, causing flights to be rerouted or delayed. Set a house on fire and caused a tree branch to fall on another. Ignited trees in residential neighborhoods. Caused a traffic signal failure. Closed freeways by toppling… Read more »

Safety Devices Depend on Lightning Protection

Building codes require ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) on every electrical outlet near plumbing fixtures or wet areas to protect against electrocutions. But before a GFCI can protect you, it may need protection against lightening. According to Occupational Health & Safety magazine: “Built into the [GFCI] is a metal oxide varistor (MOV) used as a surge… Read more »