Tampa, Fla. (July 15, 2010) - As insurers and homeowners keep a close watch on the Atlantic Basin for hurricane activity this summer, the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) cautions people across the nation not to underestimate the destructive and deadly force of thunderstorms and lightning, which occur far more often and directly affect more of the U.S. than hurricanes.
According to the National Weather Service, every thunderstorm produces lightning. On average, 300 people are injured and 80 people are killed each year in the U.S. by lightning.
"Thunderstorms are a dangerous weather event and their destructive capabilities should not be taken lightly," said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. "Property losses related to lightning strikes exceed $1 billion annually, according to insurance industry data. These losses can range from damage to expensive electronic equipment fires that destroy an entire house or business."
For lightning protection, a whole-house/building surge protector is the best starting point for reducing the risk of damage. It is important to make sure that it is either a secondary surge arrestor tested to IEEE C62.11 or a transient voltage suppressor that has been tested to UL 1449, 2nd Edition. A number of power companies have programs to provide and install the whole-building surge protection. If this is not available in your area, consult a licensed.
However, for best results, the protection should extend beyond the whole-building surge protection. IBHS strongly recommends the following:
· Install additional protection for important or expensive electronic equipment. This should include localized surge protection for power cords to the equipment and any telephone and cable/satellite TV lines connecting to the equipment. These devices are available at most home improvement and electronics stores.
· Have a licensed electrician or competent home/building inspector review the power, telephone, electrical and cable/satellite TV connections to your building. Have them check to make sure that you have adequate grounding of the power line connection and your power distribution panel. All of the utilities should enter the structure within 10 feet of the electrical service entrance ground wire and be bonded to that grounding point.
"Thunderstorms do not receive as much notoriety as hurricanes or the other perils of Mother Nature, but they are a force to be reckoned with," Rochman said. "Preparing your home or business will you give you peace of mind knowing that you will be better protected when thunderstorms strike."