Recently we have posted on the importance of maintaining and inspecting equipment on a regular basis, however, with the advent of Hurricane Sandy, the worst storm to hit New York City and the surrounding area since its founding in 1624, we are revisiting this topic highlighting the devastation that salt water and wind can pose to equipment. On behalf of everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy, are thoughts are with you. We thank all the emergency workers who are risking their lives to keep others safe.
As with any weather event, atmospheric pressure and extreme conditions produce huge storm surges and flooding, which we have seen tenfold with Sandy. Lightning may not be a factor, but the other aspects of the storm weigh heavily on the reliability of all types of equipment and infrastructure, including lightning protection equipment, grounding solutions and surge protection. When saltwater is carried through the rain and wind, and comes into contact with metal it creates corrosion and rust. A main concern for NYC in regards to Sandy is that salt water may come into contact with electrical equipment of the public transit system which can lead to significant danger.
The public transit system has closed down operations in order to protect it’s the residents and measure are being taken to seal off openings to the subway tunnels that would allow corrosive salt water to flow into the system and incapacitate trains in the future. Many parts of the subway system are decades old. The salt and deposits left behind from the storm can eat at motors, metal fasteners and the electronic parts of the subway system. Saltwater also conducts electricity, which can exacerbate damage to signals if the system isn’t powered down before a flood. The saltwater deposits can affect more than just the subway system – it can affect all types of industrial and electrical equipment.
Equipment inspection and maintenance becomes a major necessity when an event like this occurs. The fact is, there are many reasons for equipment to fail, but one of the most glaring reasons is weather. Whether it be lightning, wind, rain or saltwater corrosion, all can cause significant damage to equipment and infrastructure and you need to check all your equipment meticulously when something like this occurs.
With the intense storms hitting the Northeastern seaboard, it reminds us at Lightning Eliminators & Consultants (LEC) how important it is to have viable equipment at all times to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. That is why we encourage routine maintenance of all our lightning protection systems on a yearly basis, especially after an extreme storm like Sandy. It is consequential that you do not neglect having your equipment inspected. Many clients who do not regularly have their equipment inspected are surprised when lightning strikes their facility. It is up to maintenance managers to be proactive and have their equipment examined rather than find out after the fact when lightning disrupts the course of business. System maintenance and recertification is necessary to maintain the terms of the no-strike warranty offered by our systems such as the The Dissipation Array ™ System (DAS™).
Please remember to have your equipment (you might not think was damaged) maintained in the wake of Sandy!