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, take time to walk around your building and make a visual inspection of the lightning protection system. Here is a checklist of what to look for:
- Are air terminals (lightning rods) missing, bent, broken, or damaged?
- Are visible conductor cables securely connected to air terminals, through-structure penetrations, and ground rods?
- Are other parts of the system you can see firmly attached and free from damage?
- If maintenance has been performed on rooftop equipment, has a lightning protection system has been reconnected?
- Do surge protection devices show yellow or red indicators that servicing is required?
If your building has been reroofed, remodeled, or enlarged, contact a certified lightning protection installer to make sure the lightning protection system is up to standards. The same applies if new equipment — such as antennas, cameras, HVAC equipment, signage, etc. — has been installed.
Every 3-5 years, have your building inspected by a certified lightning protection installer to conduct continuity tests and ensure the building meets current standards. If your building has been certified by the Lightning Protection Institute – Inspection Program or the UL Master Label program, your building will have to be recertified as required by your certification.
If you have questions about what to look for on your building, ask your local, certified lightning protection professional to walk through the facility and show you what to watch for.