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Lightning Causes Warehouse Fire, Result: Costly Damages

The goal of factories and warehouses across the globe is to maintain continuous operations and create the greatest ROI achievable. One unpredictable factor in keeping consistent operations running at a smooth and efficient pace, is the weather – particularly lightning strikes. With hundreds of thousands of factories in the United States alone, unforeseeable weather can turn a plant that manufactures millions of dollars of product a day, into an insurmountable amount of damage if they are not utilizing the proper lightning protection and prevention systems.

Just recently,  Union City Mirror & Table Co. warehouse , a furniture manufacturer and warehouse in New Jersey, was struck by lightning and caught fire. An employee stated he heard a “zap” right before his computer powered off.  When the power returned, he was informed by fire alarm officials that sensors indicated a fire and flood in the warehouse. Firefighters had to cut holes in the roof to reach the blazes above the drop ceiling.  Over three hours later, the fire was contained. Unfortunately, most of the smoke and water damage occurred in the space where furniture is prepared for shipping. The company ships about $10K to $15K worth of furniture a day. When incorporating the delays from the fire, spoiled furniture, and needed structural repairs, the damage from the lightning strike amounts to almost  $2 million. In order to continue operations, Union City Mirror & Table Co. is utilizing a building across the street to prepare furniture for distribution.

The most expensive warehouse damages caused by lightning strikes was recorded in Denver, Colorado in 1997. The National Lightning Safety Institute records the loss of the CS Integrated Refrigerated Warehouse and it’s contents at $72 million.

The chance that your facility will be hit varies on a number of factors such as location, structure height, temperature, and humidity. If all the factors are just right, even areas with infrequent thunderstorms can experience rare, but high intensity, lightning strikes. Lightning can have devastating effects on any operation, whether taking a direct strike or being subjected to the secondary effects from nearby strikes. A single lightning strike to a mission-critical facility poses unacceptable risks which can cripple operations. These risks include fire, loss of product, damage to infrastructure, communications downtime, and loss of life. That is why installing the right lightning protection and prevention products is essential.  Lightning Eliminators & Consultants, Inc. (LEC) has been installing proven lightning protection technology since 1971, with a 99% success rate. LEC offers various lightning protection systems that are used to solve your most complex challenges in lightning protection, grounding, and surge suppression.  An integrated approach weighs all of the factors affecting your exposure and ensures a solution tailored to your needs and acceptable level of risk.

The patented Dissipation Array System (DAS™) protects thousands of sites all over the world and prevents over 99.87% of strikes in the protected area. DAS  is a key component of your lightning protection system, working with grounding and surge suppression to achieve complete protection. A typical system includes:

1. The Dissipation Array, available in a range of configurations for almost any structure.

2. A low-impedance grounding system using chemically-charged electrodes (Chem-Rod™).

3. Transient Voltage Surge Suppression (TVSS) to protect against transients traveling through data lines and other conductive paths.

4. Modular strike prevention devices (SBI™) to supplement the Dissipation Array’s area of protection as needed.

The benefits of protecting your warehouse or factory from lightning can be substantial, resulting in a healthier bottom line by maintaining distribution and manufacturing, protecting product, and increasing reliability and safety of employees. To learn more about DAS and our other lightning protection and prevention systems and protect your facility, visit lightningprotection.com.

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