Did you know that Louisiana ranks second in the nation for lightning strikes? We average 20.3 strikes per square mile annually and nearly 950,000 million strikes per year on average. This week is Lightning Safety Awareness Week, so I thought I’d share some tips from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety on how to reduce risks from lighting.

Lightning strikes are one of the major sources of external power surges that can severely damage electronic equipment and cause fires –both of which can be dangerous and are a huge disruption to a family or business.

For lightning protection, a whole-house/building surge protector is the best starting point for reducing the risk of damage. A number of utility companies have programs to provide and install whole-building surge protection systems. If this is not available in your area, consult a licensed electrician.

In addition to whole-building surge protection, IBHS strongly recommends the following:

• Install additional protection for important or expensive electronic equipment. This should include localized surge protection for power cords to the equipment and any telephone and cable/satellite TV lines connecting to the equipment. These devices are available at most home improvement and electronics stores.
• Have a licensed electrician or competent home/building inspector review the power, telephone, electrical and cable/satellite TV connections to your building. Have them check to make sure that you have adequate grounding of the power line connection and your power distribution panel. All of the utilities should enter the structure within 10 feet of the electrical service entrance ground wire and be bonded to that grounding point.

For more information on how to reduce the risk of lightning damaging your home or business, visit DisasterSafety.org.

By the way, the very cool photo of the 4 lightning bolts above was taken with an iphone from I-10 in Laplace, LA.