According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) the number of home fire deaths in the U.S. is increasing and in turn creating a growing challenge for fire safety professionals.
“This troubling trend has a lot to do with the fact that today’s home fires burn faster than ever before,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of outreach and advocacy for NFPA. “As a result, if a fire strikes, occupants could have as little as two minutes to escape—a task made even harder amid thick, blinding smoke that can make it nearly impossible to find your way out of a burning home,” explained Carli.
While this year’s NFPA Fire Prevention Week campaign is focusing on home fires, its fire safety messages apply to virtually any structure and any type of structural fire—including those sparked by lightning.
“In working to spread awareness about lightning safety and increase education about lightning protection, we’ve come to realize that most people are uninformed about the dangers of lightning; including its very real fire risk,” said Bud VanSickle, executive director for the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI). “As with all fire hazards, the key to safety is prevention, which is why LPI supports Fire Prevention Week with reminders to property owners that most lightning-sparked fires can be prevented when structures are equipped with NFPA 780 compliant lightning protection systems.”
A lightning protection system (LPS) that follows the guidelines of the NFPA 780 safety standard, provides a network of low-resistance paths to safely intercept lightning’s destructive electricity and direct it to ground without impact to a structure or its occupants.
By sharing facts and education resources during Fire Prevention Week, we can increase awareness about an underrated fire hazard and hopefully, help build support for lightning safety and protection initiatives, too,” said VanSickle.
To educate people about the misunderstood dangers of lightning, LPI has created a new short video “Lightning…Is your home, business or community in the line of fire?” The video highlights the many ways lightning impacts U.S. communities and the economic toll it places on homes, businesses and infrastructure.
NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week™ for more than 90 years. The theme for the 2019 FPW campaign, which takes place October 6-12, is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape: Plan and Practice Your Escape.” To learn more about home fire escape planning and fire safety visit www.firepreventionweek.org.
LPI is leading a Build and Protect effort for lightning safety by providing important lightning protection resources for property owners, insurance providers, architects, engineers and construction planners. When safety stakeholders take a proactive mitigation approach to the lightning hazard, they help prevent lightning-sparked fires at all types of structures.
For safety and quality assurance, LPI-IP provides third-party inspection and certification services to ensure lightning protection system compliance with nationally-recognized safety standards.