A lightning strike is a rare but dangerous phenomenon: the average lightning bolt has enough energy to toast nearly 100,000 slices of bread. Peaking at 100 million volts of electricity, that’s a naturally destructive force which we have relatively little control over. With our buildings now holding more of our important possessions, it’s vitally important to ensure that we’re protected against lightning strikes.

Who invented lightning protection?

There’s some disagreement over exactly who can be thanked for the introduction of lightning protection. Commonly accredited to American, Benjamin Franklin, in 1749; a “Franklin Rod” was installed as an experiment to prove that lightning was an electrical charge. While many people had speculated that lightning and electricity were connected, Franklin was the first to get out there and install a pointed rod to find out the truth; he bought his invention to the market four years later.

Russia also claims to have brought lightning protection to the world. Perhaps unintentionally, the Leaning Tower of Nevyansk was built with a metal spike on its pointed roof. This feeds into the structure of the building, grounding it and since building started in 1721, this was nearly 30 years before Franklin’s lightning rod.

In Europe in 1754, a priest called Prokop Diviš, living in what is now the Czech Republic, decided he must invent something which would “constantly deprive the air of its superfluous electricity”; he created a freestanding pole. While it was definitely successful, the local people objected to the tall poles and Diviš was forced to stop his experiments.

Who needs lightning protection?

These days, lightning protection is available to anyone who wishes to reduce the risk of lightning damage. Modern systems work in a similar way to the early methods, with lightning being intercepted and the energy being safely transmitted via rods into the earth – hence the term, “grounding”.

It’s especially important to consider lightning protection if you live in a building with a porous structure or where water is nearby. As lightning travels in the form of heat, sudden exposure could cause any water inside or nearby to expand into steam and thus cause an explosion – this is why moisture rich trees are so frequently destroyed by lightning strikes. Prime examples of high risk structures include wooden barns and historic structures which don’t have built-in protection.

Who can install lightning protection?

For optimum protection, it’s vital that you choose a contractor who is knowledgeable and who holds the right certification. In this way, you can be sure that their methods are up to date and meet the most rigorous standards; ensuring that the lightning protection will keep your structures safe.

Lightning Strike Ltd is a member of the Federation of Lightning Protection Specialists, Alcumus (Formerly Safe Contractor) and Contractors’ Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS); so you won’t find a more reliable company.

Lightning is a force to be reckoned with; so make sure you seek the help of experts.