Lightning strikes are not as uncommon as many people think and can create severe fire hazards during storms.
Last summer, a lightning strike caused a two-alarm fire in Kingston, Mass. Three other homes were also hit by lightning during the same severe storm, but they did not catch fire. Luckily, there were no reported injuries.
In September, a barn in Williamsburg, Mass. also caught fire after it was hit by lightning. No one was inside the barn and no one was injured.
Earlier this year, chimneys on a home in Danvers, Mass. and a residence in Framingham, Mass. were also hit by lightning during an unusual lightning storm.
We want to offer you some tips from Safety Insurance in Boston to help you protect your home and your family during a lightning storm:
- Unplug electronic equipment and appliances.
If you can’t unplug them, at least turn them off. Stay away from corded phones, computers, and other electronic equipment that will put you in direct contact with electricity.
- Install a whole house surge protection system on your electric meter or the electrical panel.
This will help protect your appliances and electronic equipment including computers, TVs and DVDs. Be sure a local electric company or a qualified electrician installs this device.
- Install additional protection for your important or expensive electronic equipment.
This should include localized surge protection for power cords to the electronic equipment as well as any telephone and cable/satellite TV lines that connect to the equipment.
- Install lightning rods on your roof and on the trees around your home to redirect the path of the lightning.
You should select a system that meets Underwriters Laboratories or the National Fire Protection Association requirements. These systems provide direct paths for lightning to follow to the ground rather than through the house structure and its wiring. Only a qualified contractor should install these lightning rods.
- Install a home fire alarm system with radio backup monitoring.
Even the best home alarm system is ineffective if it can’t reach the central monitoring facility and alert your provider. Wireless signals can penetrate even the most powerful storm so if you lose your phone signal, you’ll never have to worry about being cut off from your alarm provider.
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