7 Striking Facts About Lightning

Your risk of being struck by lightning this year is 1 in 700,000, but the risk of being struck within your lifetime is much higher at 1 in 3,000. These are pretty scary odds. If you want to be safe, you may want to understand some facts about lightning. Here’s a look at its power, its frequency, where it strikes and a few additional striking tidbits.

1. Lightning Is Big and Powerful

A bolt of lightning can be over 5 miles in length. Essentially, lightning a huge swathe of uncontrolled electricity in the sky. It can increase air temperatures by 50,000 degrees, and it contains 100 million electrical volts.

2. Lightning Causes More Brain Injuries Than Burns

Surprisingly, in spite of its intense heat, lightning leads to more brain injuries than burns. The iconic Lichtenberg marks that are often associated with lightning victims look like a tree spread across the victim’s body. Contrary to popular belief, these scars aren’t burn scars. Rather, they show up when capillaries below the skin burst, and they often disappear after a few weeks or even hours in some cases. They don’t need to be treated like burn marks.

Seventy percent of victims experience long-term effects. In terms of brain damage, they tend to lose their memories, and many suffer intense personality changes. Brain damage can also present the same symptoms experienced by stroke victims or can lead to issues such as Parkinson’s disease.

3. Nerve Damage Is a Common Side Effect

One of the most common issues victims experience is extremely painful nerve damage. Basically, the nerves send constant signals to the brain that they are in pain.

4. Lightning Kills Approximately 84 People Every Year in the United States

This number is based on 3,696 deaths in the United States over a 44-year period between 1959 and 2003. Prior to this time period, there were actually a lot more lightning-related deaths. In the 1940s, in particular, there were approximately 300 to 400 deaths from lightning per year.
There’s no conclusive way to know why deaths were so common during that decade. However, many speculate that it was related to more farmers working on open tractors and more people talking on corded phones in homes that had no lightning protection.

5. Humans Are Usually Not Hit Directly

In many cases, the lightning doesn’t hit humans directly. Instead, it hits something else and travels to the person. For example, one bank teller was hit when lightning struck the building and traveled up the metal stool he was sitting on.

6. Men Are Hit More Than Women

In the United States, the majority of lightning victims are men. This doesn’t necessarily mean that men are intrinsically more likely to get struck than women, but men tend to get hit when they are outside doing leisure activities.

The most common activity that people are doing when they get struck by lightning outside is fishing. This is followed by the number of people struck by lightning while camping, boating and golfing.

7. Lighting Strikes About 100 Times Per Second

Worldwide, lightning strikes about 100 times every second. In the United States alone, there are approximately 5 million strikes of lightning every year.

As an individual, it’s critical to know lightning safety tips. If you own a home or a business, you should take extra steps to protect those buildings.

Contact us at B&B Lightning Protection for more information on how you can protect your residential or commercial structures. With over 50 years of combined experience in the industry, our qualified installers can help you take the necessary steps to protect your home or office from lightning.

What You Should Know about Surge Suppressors

If you don’t use a surge suppressor to protect your electronics, which include smartphones, televisions, computers, stereos, gaming systems and many other devices, then you are risking a big financial loss. Though your wall outlet may seem like a safe place, it’s a bad idea to plug in a device without the benefit of surge suppression.

Below is more information about surge suppression, how it can benefit you and what you should know about the equipment itself.

What Are Electrical Surges and Spikes?

The flow of electrical current is not unchanging and constant in most places. Even though the power supply is often identified in terms of 120 volts or 240 volts, for example, the reality is that electricity can enter the wiring of your home at a range of voltages.

Instead, the usual voltage reading inside a home can vary greatly depending on when the current is measured. This variation is known as a surge or spike. In general, a surge is a sustained “rush” of electricity while a spike is a “burst” of electrical energy.

Surges often result from a malfunctioning power distribution system, while spikes tend to occur due to more localized problems, such as home wiring issues or lightning strikes.

How Do Surge Suppressors Work?

Within a limited range, the differences in electrical currents are not necessarily destructive, as most electronics can handle small variations. However, once surges and spikes exceed certain safety limits, damage to your electronics is a real possibility.

That’s why surge suppression should be a part of your plan for protecting electronics from damage. Surge suppressors are affordable, effective and can be implemented in almost any environment and with most devices.

Surge suppressors work by diverting excess electrical energy created by spikes and surges. Although the underlying electrical theory is complex, small components called metal oxide varistors (MOVs) detect spikes and surges and instantaneously redirect them into the ground wire. This prevents damage to the attached electronic devices.

Surge suppressors also contain other components that help filter an incoming electrical current, which helps many devices work better. They also have fuses or circuit breakers to prevent massive overloads. Although surge suppressors can be housed in a variety of enclosures, they are typically manufactured with a row of electrical outlets that permit plug-in flexibility.

What Should You Know About Surge Suppressor Usage?

Even though surge suppressors are fairly straightforward devices, it’s important for homeowners to recognize a couple of aspects regarding their use. A failure to understand surge suppressor usage can lead to damaged or ruined electronics.

One of the first things to keep in mind is that a power strip is not necessarily a surge suppressor. Even though a power strip has a row of multiple outlets, and it also contains a master switch and breaker in most cases, power strips aren’t always equipped with surge suppression technology.

That’s why you should take time to investigate the surge suppression characteristics of a power strip before you buy it. Many stores place protected and unprotected devices together in the same racks, so be sure to read the fine print. Surge suppression capacity is measured in joules, a unit of electrical current, and this will be referenced on the packaging of a protected device.

Another mistake is not replacing a surge suppressor after the end of its useful lifespan. The MOVs inside a surge suppressor can absorb only so much current before failing. Many surge suppressors contain a status light that displays if the device is still providing protection. When the light goes out, the MOVs are depleted, and it is time to buy another surge suppressor.

If you have questions about surge protectors or how to protect your home or business from electrical damage, be sure to contact B & B Lightning Protection. Our team of professionals can help provide the protection your valuable electronics need.​

What Do You Need to Know About Lightning?

Lightning—it’s the stuff legends are made from. Think back to the ancient mythology that you learned about in school, and you’ll probably remember some pretty impressive stories about lightning. Even though lightning isn’t exactly a weapon-like bolt that a hero throws, it’s serious business. And that’s why your home or business needs protection against it.

Understanding the facts and separating out the fictions of lightning is the first step in protecting yourself and your building. What do you need to know about lightning? Take a look at the important information and major myths surrounding those bright flashes.

Striking Twice

You may have heard that lightning never strikes the same place twice. Wouldn’t this be ideal? One strike and you’re done. But the “lighting doesn’t strike twice” theory is far from true. Lightning can and often will strike the same building or object more than once. This doesn’t mean that it will strike twice or more at the same time. The strikes may happen during different storms or even during different years. The thing to remember is that the idea that lightning won’t strike the same object twice is a myth.

Don’t avoid protecting your building just because it’s had previous lightning damage. When lightning strikes an object there’s a reason. That part of the building may be taller than the roof, or it may be made out of a material that conducts electricity well. The fact that it attracted lightning to begin with, may mean that it’s more likely to be hit again and again. For example, the Empire State Building is struck an average of 23 times per year.

Homes and Buildings Always Provide Protection

Yes, staying indoors is always advisable during an electrical storm. You’re much better protected by the roof of a building than you are by the open space of an outdoor area. Along with that, a building is always preferable over a tree. While it’s tempting to run for shelter under a tree, thousands of trees are struck by lightning each day. If the tree is the tallest object in the area, it will attract the lightning and put you at risk if you’re standing underneath.

Even though homes and other buildings are the safest places to be during an electrical storm, that doesn’t mean that lightning can’t or won’t strike them. Along with having your home professionally protected against lightning and electrical storm issues, make sure to stay away from anything inside that conducts electricity. This includes wires, television cables, metal door or window frames and appliances.

Survival Skills and Lightning Strikes

If you do get struck, chances are things aren’t going to end well for you. That said, you are more likely to live after being struck. Of the people who get struck by lightning, roughly only 10% die from their injuries. That means 90% of people who are struck go on to live. But there can be serious consequences. The majority of people who live through lightning strikes have long-term physiological or psychological trauma as a result.

Time of the Year

There are times of the year when you or your property are more likely to get struck by lightning. 92% of all lightning-related fatalities and injuries happen between May and September. Think about the times when it rains and storms the most. This typically includes the late spring and summer which falls roughly during May through September. In the winter, you’re less likely to see a lightning-producing rainstorm if you live in a climate where it snows.

Does your building need protection against lightning? Call B & B Lightning Protection at 609-392-1929 for more information.

3 Common Types of Residential Lightning Damage

Lightning presents a significant threat to the integrity of your house and its belongings. Yet many people misunderstand the ways in which lightning can damage a home—let alone what they can do to minimize the risk.

Lightning is a surge of electricity so great that it is capable of making the jump from a storm cloud to the ground, in the process discharging an incredible amount of energy. When this energy directly comes in contact with an object, whether a tree, a house, or a stretch of wiring—it is known as a lightning strike. Unless the object has some means of protection against the lightning, the results can often be devastating.

Should a lightning strike happen to hit some conductive structure, its energy will continue to travel through that object. This is referred to as a current pulse. Incredibly, such a pulse represents a massive amount of electrical energy that it can travel a mile or more through utility cables.

If you would like to improve your knowledge of protecting against lightning strikes, keep reading. This article will introduce you to the destructive potential of lightning by outlining three types of lightning damage.

1. Power Line Strikes

Power line strikes, or lightning that has struck a nearby power network, like a phone, power, or cable line, are the most common type of residential lightning damage. Such wiring acts as a conductor and leads the surge right into your home, where its huge voltage will wreak havoc on any electronic equipment that happens to be plugged in. Certain lightning strikes are even so powerful that they can reach power lines buried underground.

Protecting against this type of lightning damage involves implementing what are known as Building Service Entrance Surge Protectors or SPDs for short. This type of lightning protection system is designed to prevent or at least limit situations where an excessive amount of voltage is flowing into the electrical system of your home by diverting the surge current generated by the lightning strike.

An SPD consists of numerous different surge protection components from metal oxide varistors and avalanche breakdown diodes to gas discharge tubes. Investing in such a system is generally considered the best thing you can do to protect your home against lightning surges.

2. Exterior Equipment Strikes

The next most common source of lightning damage occurs as the result of lightning that strikes a home’s exterior electrical equipment. This may encompass such things as:

  • Air Conditioners
  • Exterior Lighting Systems
  • Satellite Dishes
  • Pool Pump Equipment
  • Security Systems
  • Gate Control System

There is only so much you can do to prevent damage to such items besides trying to protect them within nonconductive structures. The more pertinent concern, however, is that lightning striking such exterior features will often be conducted into the home through the electrical connection. Thus, an SPD becomes even more important as a means of protecting against lightning.

3. Tree Damage

The third most common form of lightning damage involves lightning that hits trees on your property. A significant enough lightning strike can easily shear off limbs, or even cause the tree’s trunk to crack. This may result in damaged portions of a tree falling into your home, resulting in expensive forms of structural damage.

It is important to consider protecting trees against lightning damage even when your home is not directly threatened. Certain trees should be considered an investment since they help to improve the value to your property. This is especially true when it comes to old, rare, or especially beautiful trees.

Fortunately, you can protect such trees against lightning damage through the installation of a special copper cable system. A copper cable system is essentially a giant lightning rod for your tree. Its purpose is to attract lightning strikes and safely conduct the energy into the soil through a ten-foot ground rod.

If you want to protect your home and property from lightning damage, contact B & B Lightning Protection to learn more about your options.

What You Should Know About Home Lightning Protection

A random lightning strike can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of fire damage to your home and result in injuries to you or your family. Can you prevent this from happening? Yes, you can. Here’s what you need to know about home lightning protection.

Trees and Antennae Won’t Protect Your Home

While trees can be worked into and protected by a home lightning system, they won’t protect your house on their own. After lightning hits a tree, it may split to hit the house. Also, while antennae may be grounded, they cannot handle lightning and may give it a route into your home.

Lightning Protection Systems Work

With a series of copper cables and lightning rods, these systems have been proven to save homes from destruction. While you may think that lightning rods attract lightning, this is not the case. Instead, they intercept the electricity and provide it with a safe path into the ground, bypassing your home completely.

Systems Must Be Installed by a Professional

Don’t risk your home and your life by installing your own system. Professionals will take all variables into consideration including the electrical system, soil components, the shape and style of your home and geographical location, and then come up with the best arrangement for your structure.

Contact B & B Lightning Protection to help you determine the best system for your family home.

Lightning Safety Tips

Getting struck by lightning is rare, but it does happen. To stay safe during a storm, here are some tips to abide by.

Get Inside

If you are outside during a lightning storm, then you want to get indoors immediately. No place outdoors is going to be safe during this time.

Avoid Any Appliances

Even if you are inside, there are some things to be mindful of. Do not use electrical appliances such as a landline telephone or television set. If lightning strikes, it could end up blowing a fuse. Additionally, you want to avoid any contact with water during this period, so do not take a bath.

Remain Inside After the Storm

You want to stay inside until after 30 minutes of the last time you heard thunder. Even if things seem clear, it is better to play it safe than sorry.

Stay Away From Windows

While you are inside, keep clear of windows. Even if lightning does not directly strike your house, if it is in the vicinity, it could still shatter windows. You do not want to be near shattered glass if that occurs.

If your area of town is prone to severe lightning storms, then it can be wise to outfit your home with lightning protection devices. Look at all the gadgets you can get by contacting B & B Lightning Protection.

Understanding What a Lightning Protection System Is

Many buildings benefit greatly from lightning protection systems. If you install one around your property, you will be thankful it is there when the next big storm comes.

What Is It?

This system gives potential lightning strikes a path of least resistance to the ground, preventing damage from occurring to your building. These systems typically consist of an air terminal, conductor cables and grounding rods.

How Do You Benefit?

A myth persists about these systems that they attract lightning. That is not the case at all. They do not make your building more likely to attract lightning strikes. In the event lightning were to hit your building anyway, the rod is simply where the strike would take place. The system does offer protection to your building by allowing it to avoid any structural damage as a result of a lightning strike. The lack of damage from lightning essentially acts as fire protection as well. Numerous hazards are avoided by installing a single system.
Whenever a storm comes through town, you will have complete peace of mind knowing that your building is protected by one of these systems. In order to ensure your system will work optimally, have it installed by a skilled professional. To find experts who can install a lightning protection system for you, contact B & B Lightning Protection today.