How to Protect Your Home from Lightning-Related Fires
Lightning is hotter than the sun and can reach temperatures of 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightning-related fires most often occur during the summer storm season, typically months June through August. However, lightning-related fires do happen all year long and in every state. According to NFPA’s latest report “Lightning Fires and Lightning Strikes”, during 2007-2011, U.S. local fire departments responded to an estimated 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes. While this data includes both structure and non-structure fires, nineteen percent of lightning fires were home fires.
Recent insurance claims data from the Insurance Information Institute reveals Louisiana is ranked the eighth state in homeowners’ lightning loss claims for 2021. In Louisiana, there were 2,372 homeowners claims due to lightning in 2021 which resulted in over twenty-eight million dollars in damages. Thankfully, there are ways to protect your home from lightning-related fires and to mitigate damages.
Prevent Lightning-Related Fires by Installing a Whole-house Lightning Protection System
Lightning protection systems work to intercept lightning strikes, provide a conductive path for the electrical discharge to follow, and safely disperse the energy into the ground.
A whole-home lightning protection system consists of:
- Air terminals (a.k.a. lightning rods) mounted on the roof
- Main conductors made of aluminum or copper wires to redirect electricity
- A proper grounding system
- A bonding system to prevent sparks or side flashes
- Surge protective devices
Lightning protection systems should follow the national standards and requirements of the Lightning Protection Institute, National Fire Protection Association, and Underwriters Laboratories. Only experienced and reputable lightning protection contractors listed by Underwriters Laboratories and certified by Lightning Protection Institute should install these systems.
Prevent Lightning-Related Fire by Removing Yard Debris
Dry grass, plants, and leaves are highly flammable and should be regularly removed from your yard to prevent a ground fire from spreading to the home.
Prevent Lightning-Related Fires by Updating Wiring in Older Homes
Older homes can often experience electrical problems. Consult with a qualified electrician to inspect your home’s electrical and grounding systems. Without a proper grounding system, a lightning strike could cause a fire and affect your home’s electrical foundation.
How to Respond to a Lightning-Related Home Fire
If a lightning strike causes your home to catch on fire, your family’s safety is the top priority. Everyone must exit the home immediately. Once in a safe location far away from your home, call the fire department for help. Do not reenter your home until you are told it is safe.
After the fire is extinguished, limit movement in your home to prevent further damage. Do not try to clean soot or fire damage yourself without proper personal protective equipment. Fire damage cleaning and restoration are best left to trained professionals.
SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville’s certified and experienced fire restoration professionals are here to help 24-7-365. To learn more about our fire damage restoration services or to schedule an inspection, call our office by dialing 985-871-5375.