Lightning may not strike often, but when it does, it can cause big problems. The average bolt of cloud to ground lightning contains around 1,000,000,000 joules of energy. That is enough power to run a 60-watt lightbulb for half a year and a refrigerator with its door open for a full day.
The Top End is known for its spectacular storms. Over one Christmas Day, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) recorded over 91,000 strikes in the Darwin region. The area provides the three main ingredients for intense lighting: moisture, heat, and instability.
Even if you don’t live in Darwin, you should still be concerned about lighting protection. An estimated five to 10 people are killed, and 100 more are seriously injured by strikes each year. Lightning can also cause thousands of dollars in property damage.
What Is a Lightning Protection System?
A lightning protection system uses rods that are positioned at intervals on the highest points of a structure. These are strategically installed at the highest-risk locations. They connect to conductor cables that provide a safe path to the ground.
Today’s lightning rods are a little different than they used to be. They are much smaller and can usually be installed so that they blend with the building’s architecture.
Does a Lightning Protection System Attract Strikes?
It may sound counterintuitive to install something that looks like it attracts lighting, but these systems work. They won’t increase your risk, because lightning strikes when and where it pleases. It doesn’t care if you have a rod in place or not. Lightning can also strike structures at a lower elevation or on the ground.
When a strike occurs, the rods will make sure that the energy generated moves safely down and away from your home. Without them, your property could be severely damaged or burn down.
Side flashes can also occur. A side flash happens when electrical current jumps from the object that was struck to nearby bodies. That can include people and animals. Lightning protection can help shield your property from side flashes as well as full-on lightning strikes.
Do I Need Lightning Protection on All Buildings on My Property?
It is best to protect all buildings on your property as much as possible. Building codes may not require it, but it can save you a lot of money and safeguard the people inside the structure. Consider the items that you have stored in a building. Would you be ok losing its contents in the event of a strike or fire caused by a strike?
Human safety is another concern. If the building is a home or business where people will spend a lot of time, it should be protected.
Lightning protection is available for structures of all sizes, from small residential properties to big office buildings or industrial facilities. The first step is to request an estimate for a lightning system installation. Spending the money now could save you thousands of dollars during the next thunderstorm.