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SOURCE Lightning Safety Alliance
MARYVILLE, Mo., Oct. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A campaign that began a year ago to support Sparky the Fire Dog®'s "Wish List" has successfully provided complimentary lightning protection systems for over half a dozen fire stations in high risk lightning regions across the U.S. In an industry initiative to provide lightning protection resources to the public and the fire safety community, the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) kicked off the "Building Lightning Safe Communities" campaign last October. Since then, several LPI-member firms have donated lightning protection systems for fire stations in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Texas. The combined value of these system donations is approximately $100,000. LPI organized the campaign donations when outreach with the fire safety community revealed that many stations across the country were lacking lightning protection systems to protect their personnel, structures and equipment.
"Lightning can ignite structural fires, damage equipment and cause failures of internal building systems," said Bud VanSickle, LPI executive director. "The Building Lightning Safe Communities campaign, has allowed LPI to reduce lightning risks and provide protection systems for several fire stations in high-risk lightning states," explained VanSickle.
According to a June 2013 NFPA report, titled "Lightning Fires and Lightning Strikes," fire departments in the U.S. respond to an estimated 22,600 lightning fires each year. These fires are responsible for civilian and firefighter deaths, injuries and approximately $451 million in preventable property damage.
"There are situations where the need for lightning protection should be given serious consideration; and that need often includes structures such as fire stations," said Mac Hohenberger, fire chief for Argyle Volunteer Fire District.
Bonded Lightning Protection Systems, Ltd. of Argyle, Texas recently donated a lightning protection system installation for Argyle Fire Station #513. Other participating LPI member firms: ECLE, of Winsted, Conn.; Guardian Equipment Co., of Novi, Mich.; HLP Systems of Libertyville, Ill.; Lightning Specialists, of Palm Harbor, Fla.; Mr. Lightning, of Colorado Springs, Colo. and Thompson Lightning Protection, of St. Paul, Minn. also donated lightning protection systems for fire stations in their states.
"A single bolt of lightning can pack 100 million volts of electricity which can be devastating to an unprotected structure," said Heath Howe, business development director at Bonded Lightning Protection Systems, Ltd and president of the United Lightning Protection Association (ULPA). "A code-compliant lightning protection system, like the one installed for Fire Station #513, provides a practical, tested solution against a common, yet underrated weather threat. Now the structure, occupants, equipment and operations are safeguarded against lightning."
NFPA has sponsored Fire Prevention Week since 1922 and is believed to be the longest running public health and safety observance on record. The NFPA also publishes the NFPA 780 Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems; a valuable resource for reducing lightning risks. Visit www.firepreventionweek.org for more information about fire safety and NFPA's annual campaign.
LPI is a not-for-profit nationwide group founded in 1955 to promote lightning safety, awareness and education and is a leading resource for lightning protection information and system requirements. For a list of certified contractors and other information about national safety standards for lightning protection installation, visit the LPI website at www.lightning.org. Information about the Building Lightning Safe Communities campaign can be found at www.lightningsafe.org.
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