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 ~ National Lightning Safety Institute ~

Section 1.4.4

Presented at the International Lightning Detection Conference, Broomfield, Colorado, April 2-4, 2012

Fourteen Points to Lightning Safety

By Richard Kithil, Founder & CEO, NLSI

1. Introduction

This paper summarizes lightning safety as understood by the author summarizing 18 years experience in lightning hazard mitigation. Several fundamental statements apply:

  • Absolute lightning safety is impossible.
  • Lightning has its own agenda. Sometimes it ignores science maxims.
  • Codes and standards are useful minimum guidelines for reducing consequential effects.

2. Risk Management

Risk management and mitigation of the lightning hazard requires:

2.1 People Safety

  • Early Detection
  • Notification
  • Safe Shelter
  • Re-evaluation of Threat
  • Resumption of Activities
  • Policies/Procedures
  • Education/Training

2.2 Safety for Facilities and Structures

  • Air Terminals
  • Bonding
  • Shielding
  • Grounding/Earthing
  • Surge Protection
  • Maintenance
  • Inspection/Testing

3. Conclusion

Application of the above 14 points to achieve lightning safety is recommended. Site specificity will necessitate more or less attention to each of these topics.

  • Example: A radio tower is an air terminal — no more are required.
  • Example: Concrete-encased electrodes far exceed the merits of ground rods — usually.
  • Example: Hearing thunder is a first-class lightning detector.
  • Example: Bonding is more important than grounding.
  • Example: Without surge protection, all electrical and electronic assets are vulnerable.

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