Why do we need lightning protection?
Lightning is one of nature's most powerful and destructive phenomena

by Isa Balogun


Posted on 08:01:pm Jan 23 17


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Lightning is one of nature's most powerful and destructive phenomena

Lightning discharges contain awesome amounts of electrical energy and have been measured from several thousand amps to over 200,000 amps - enough to light half a million 100 watt bulbs! Even though a lightning discharge is of a very short duration (typically 200 microseconds) it is a very real cause of damage and destruction. The effects of a direct strike are obvious and immediately apparent - buildings damaged, trees blown apart, personal injuries and even death. However, the secondary effects of lightning - the short duration, high voltage spikes called transient overvoltages can, and do, cause equally catastrophic, if less visually obvious, damage to the electronic systems inside a building. Protecting electronic systems We are continually meeting people who have structural lightning protection for their building, but have suffered damage to the - unprotected - electronic systems within. Simply stated, a structural lightning protection system cannot and will not protect the electric systems within a building from transient overvoltage damage. A total solution A reliable lightning protection scheme must encompass both structural lightning protection and transient overvoltage (electric systems) protection. That's why we advocate a Total Solution approach to lightning protection - to ensure complete protection of your employees, the fabric of your building and the electronic systems therein. Why is lightning protection so important? The function of an external lightning protection system is to intercept, conduct and disperse a lightning strike safely to earth. Without such a system a building's structure, electronic systems and the people working around or within it are all at risk. There are many ways in which lightning strikes can cause damage or injury. Lightning strikes (or even electrical discharges due to nearby lightning) can cause fires, explosions, chemical release or mechanical disruption within or around a building. Step and touch voltages generated from a lightning strike can cause injury, or even loss of life, to humans (and animals) in the close vicinity. At Furse, we are fully aware that all these risk need to be considered and protected against when developing a lightning protection system. With over 100 years of experience our support and expertise has assisted thousands of businesses, both large and small, to achieve effective protection against lightning. External lightning protection A structural lightning protection system is of the people inside by channelling the lightning strike in a safe and controlled manner to the earth termination network. designed to protect the fabric of a structure and the lives of the people inside by channelling the lightning strike in a safe and controlled manner to the earth termination network. Using the Faraday Cage principal as advocated by the majority of national and international standards, Furse offers a range of air terminals, bases and clamps for the air termination network and an extensive range of down conductors and fixings. Furse only supply high quality materials and fixings, since it only takes a single sub-standard component to compromise the performance of a structural lightning protection - or earthing system. Internal lightning protection (Electronic systems protection) The increasing pace of technological development has created the scenario where increasingly lightning sensitive systems are essential to our society. Both the threat of damage to vital electronic systems, and the seriousness of the consequences of that damage, are more real than ever before. Most modern electronic systems are at risk: Computers Data communication networks Building management systems PABX telephone exchanges CCTV equipment Fire and burglar alarms Telecom Base stations Uninteruptible power supplies (UPSs) Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) Plant sensors Telemetry and data acquisition equipment Loss of these systems would cripple industrial, commercial and governmental organizations alike. At Furse, we are fully aware that all these risk need to be considered and protected against when developing a lightning protection system. With over 100 years of experience our support and expertise has assisted thousands of businesses, both large and small, to achieve effective protection against lightning.


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Isa Balogun

He's the MD/Ceo of Bionet Technologies. An entrepreneur, blogger, humanitarian and a father of a boy and a girl.