Since the safety of staff, pupils and the facilities is paramount, the importance of lightning protection for schools can never be over-stated. Lightning can be the most underestimated weather hazard; even though a lightning strike can have devastating effects, sometimes resulting in the loss of life.
A number of school activities can put students at high risk from lightning strikes – the largest number of lightning casualties occur in open areas, so pupils in the playground and on sports fields can be more at risk. Similarly, a lightning strike is capable of inflicting devastating effects on a school building, where hundreds of people are congregating and where there’s likely to be a large concentration of electrical equipment such as computers, power sockets and laboratory equipment. Fortunately, most lightning casualties can be avoided through a series of safety procedures and lightning protection.
The Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974, governs the safety of students – the overall responsibility for their wellbeing lies with the education authorities. Protection against lightning strikes is subject to safety standard BS EN/IEC 63205; setting out policies for the installation and management of lightning protection for school buildings. To reflect the increased scientific understanding of lightning strikes and the improved technology of lightning protection, this replaced the previous standard, BS 6651:1999.
It is usual for the local education authority to carry out a lightning protection risk assessment of all schools in its area, identifying any that require better lightning protection on some or all buildings in the complex. Once the protection is in place, it requires regular maintenance to ensure it is kept in optimum condition.
As lightning protection specialists, Lightning Strike complies with the British and European standards for effective lightning protection solutions.