Posts Categorized: News

Check Up for Safety

The sign on this Annapolis, MD fire station reminds us that smoke detectors save lives… if they are properly inspected and maintained. The same can be said about lightning protection systems. Parts of the lightning protection system can become loose or damaged, compromising safety. When you change smoke detector batteries, or at other regular intervals,… Read more »

Historical Lightning Protection Lessons

The J.A. Belt Building in Gaithersburg, MD was built in 1903 and is listed on National Register of Historic Places. It offers two lessons about lightning protection systems. Lightning protection systems help buildings withstand the test of time: John A. Belt understood the destructive power of fire; the Masonic Lodge to which he belonged was… Read more »

Even in Winter – Don’t Take Chances with Lightning

The National Weather Service shares this cautionary report of lightning-related injuries that occurred in the middle of winter while ice fishing. “On Saturday, February 22, 1997, Robert, his father, three friends and two of their sons went ice fishing on Moosehead Lake in Maine. In the middle of winter, in Maine, no one would ever… Read more »

Lightning Protection for Historic Buildings

Protecting historic buildings from lightning damage may require special considerations. For example, the visible components of the lightning protection system have to maintain the look and historic features of the original building, yet meet modern standards for performance. To the extent practical, new lightning protection components have to be installed without damaging historic building materials… Read more »

Lightning Protection: A Capital Idea

Each of this trio of Washington, D.C. landmarks has a lightning protection system. Air terminals (lightning rods) are visible on top of decorative finials on the Smithsonian Institution Building — known affectionately as “The Castle” — on the right and Smithsonian Institution Arts and Industry Building on the left. Between them, in the distance, is… Read more »

A Year for the Record Books

2017 is breaking records for the number and intensity of Atlantic Hurricanes. This blog has already reported on lightning activity accompanying Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. To keep the record up-to-date, Hurricane Maria — the one that brought devastation to Puerto Rico — was also a ferocious Electrical Storm, as this video shows. To learn more… Read more »

New Generator Rule Enforced in Florida Nursing Homes

Florida is enforcing new rules requiring nursing homes to have emergency generators. This action comes in the wake of Hurricane Irma which left 10 nursing home residents dead due to sweltering heat in buildings that had no power due to storm-related outages. We applaud this potentially life-saving move, and offer a friendly reminder: Permanently-installed generators… Read more »

NASA Looks at Hurricane Irma’s Heat Engine

Sep. 06, 2017 — Data from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite combined with World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) shows Hurricane Irma is already creating intense lightning. In this illustration, according to NASA, “each flash is indicated by a yellow sphere plotted at 5 km (3.1 mile) altitude. There is lightning in the ring… Read more »

Hurricane Harvey Spawns Lightning Storms in its Path

Hurricane Harvey hit Texas with “non-stop lightning” in the words of the Washington Post. The lightning added to the storm damage caused by winds and floods by sparking fires and destroying critical equipment and services. This experience reminds us that lightning damage accompanies many hurricanes. In addition to fires and damage to structures, the lightning… Read more »

Small Houses… Big Risks

Tiny homes are gaining in popularity as a way to reduce the cost of home ownership. Yet the risk of lightning damage is not diminished by their reduced scale. Residents and guests remain vulnerable to injury and death, the structure can burn or be damaged. And computers, TVs, and other valuable electronics can be destroyed…. Read more »