OUR PHILOSOPHY or TRUTH Vs FACT
It is disappointing to note the amount of myths associated with lightning that have been accepted on faith as truth for a phenomenon that has been recorded as early as 600BC. We are often confronted with these so called "truths" presented as facts. At Lightning Protection EPC (LPEPC) we only focus on facts related to lightning as supported by testing and empirical or analytical data.
TRUTH SUPPORTED BY FACTS
Lightning costs companies millions of dollars in production downtime and associated costs.
In 2018 LPEPC was involved in an industry study that looked at production downtime and
associated costs of 1 manufacturing facility struck by lightning. It was calculated
that the company lost 1,229 hours in downtime and $1,112,000+ in associated costs
over a 12 month period due to lightning and its effect on production until a solution
The following comment is a common one in relation to lightning in a hazardous area: "We haven't had a fire in 50 years".
However it may need to be adjusted to "We are lucky we haven't had a fire in 50 years", once you consider all the facts.
TRUTH Vs FACT
LIGHTNING & LIGHTNING PROTECTION SYSTEMS
It is somewhat suprising that industry continues to refer to lightning protection as being part of the "black arts". That the techniques and or solutions are considered mysterious and or not based in science.
Standards that apply to Lightning Protection systems such as Australian and New Zealand Standard for Lightning Protection AS1768-2007, IEC International Standard 62305 series – Protection against Lightning and US NFPA 780 – Standard for Installation of Lightning Protection Systems provide clear and detailed information on lightning protection and how to apply a Lightning Protection system.
If a lightning protection solution is specified and designed correctly than it is no different to a standard electrical system installation. If a standard electrical system was not maintained there will be some element of risk associated with the electrical systems ongoing performance and safety therein. Explaining how a lightning protection system works for a client and the risks associated is critical.
The basic premise behind a lightning protection system is to safely redirect lightning away from infrastructure, services, processes, personnel etc. to an functional earth. It is important to understand how each piece of equipment in a lightning protection system works and to what degree each piece of equipment assists in redirecting that lightning to earth. Sometimes it requires a combination of equipment in order to provide a solution that minimises the associated risk.
A traditional lightning rod system placed at all four corners of a building does not necessarily safeguard that building from a lightning strike.
There is no lightning protection system that can completely safeguard a site from lightning. Just like there is no electrical system that can completely safeguard an electrical grid/terminal station from a blackout. The irony is that most electrical blackouts that affect a terminal station occur during a weather event and are sometimes the result of a lightning strike.
To reduce the risk associated with lightning, understanding the risk is essential. Some of the questions to ask during pre qual so as to assist in gathering the correct information with a view to specification and design...What is the risk to human life, services provided to the public, cultural heritage, loss of income or revenue? What is the source(s) of damage? Direct strike to the structure, Strike near the structure, Strike near conductive paths such as metal pipes...Will a direct strike and subsequent lightning current create a mechanical or thermal effect causing a fire or explosion...and so on...
Understand your risk and apply the appropriate lightning protection system.