How to Save your Condominium with Lightning Protection System Work

Save Your Skyscraper from Lightning Strikes with Lightning Rod Solutions in Malaysia with TAKO since 1979

Skyscraper Lightning Rod – What is it?

Lightning rod is essential for condominiums and skyscrapers because they protect people and property from lightning strikes. Lightning can cause fires, explosions, and structural damage to tall buildings. Moreover, it can also injure or kill people. Lightning rods work by attracting lightning to the top of a building, where it is safely conducted to the ground. This prevents lightning from striking the building itself.

Lightning Rod is a metal rod or metallic object to protect from lightning

WIKIDATA
Lightning

Lightning rods are essential features for condominiums and skyscrapers, designed to protect people and property from the dangers of lightning strikes. Lightning, a powerful and potentially destructive natural phenomenon, poses significant risks to tall buildings, including the potential for fires, explosions, and structural damage. In Malaysia, where thunderstorms are frequent, installing lightning rods becomes paramount for ensuring safety and mitigating risks associated with lightning strikes.

A lightning rod, also known as a lightning conductor, is a device invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1749. Its primary function is to attract lightning to the highest point of a structure and provide a safe path for the electric current to travel into the ground, thus preventing direct strikes to the building itself.

Lightning strikes the United States approximately 25 million times each year, resulting in an average of 49 fatalities and numerous injuries. Aside from the human toll, lightning also inflicts significant damage to buildings, electrical systems, and electronic devices. Therefore, implementing effective lightning protection measures is crucial for safeguarding lives and property.

Why lightning rod is essential for condominiums and skyscrapers?

Lightning Rod

Prevent fires

Lightning rods can prevent fires by providing a safe path for the electric current of a lightning strike to reach the ground. When lightning strikes a building, it can cause damage to the structure, ignite flammable materials, or electrocute people or animals inside.

A lightning rod is a metal rod that is mounted on the roof of a building and connected to a thick wire that leads to a grounding rod buried in the earth. The metal rod and wire are good conductors of electricity, so they offer less resistance than the building materials. This means that the lightning will prefer to flow through the rod and wire instead of through the building. By diverting the current away from the building, the lightning rod reduces the risk of fire and other damage.

Prevent explosions

Lightning rods can prevent explosions by reducing the chances of lightning striking flammable or explosive materials, such as fuel tanks, gas pipelines, or ammunition depots. Hence, lightning can ignite these materials and cause fires or blasts that can damage property and endanger lives. Installing lightning rods on these structures safely diverts the electric current of a lightning strike to the ground, avoiding contact with combustible substances.

Some examples of explosions caused by lightning are:

  • In 2019, a lightning strike ignited a fire at a Jim Beam warehouse in Kentucky, USA. As a result, it destroyed about 45,000 barrels of bourbon and caused a large environmental spill.
  • In 2020, a lightning strike triggered an explosion at a natural gas well in Texas, USA. As a consequence, it injured seven workers and created a massive fireball that could be seen from miles away.
  • In 2022, a lightning strike hit a fuel tank at an oil storage facility in Matanzas, Cuba, causing a fire and a series of explosions that resulted in at least one death and up to 125 injuries. In addition, there were missing reports of 17 firefighters.

These incidents show how dangerous lightning can be when it interacts with volatile materials. Therefore, it is important to have proper lightning protection systems in place to prevent such disasters.

Prevent structural damage

Lightning rods can prevent structural damage by intercepting the electric current of a lightning strike and conducting it safely to the ground, avoiding contact with the building materials. Firstly, lightning can damage structures made of most materials, such as masonry, wood, concrete, and steel because the huge currents and voltages involved can heat materials to high temperatures. The heat causes a potential for a structure fire, and its rapidity can lead to explosive damage as well. Some examples of structural damage caused by lightning are:

  • In 2018, a lightning strike hit the spire of St. Mary’s Church in Sompting, England, causing a fire that destroyed the roof and damaged the interior of the 900-year-old building.
  • In 2019, a lightning strike damaged the roof of a house in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA, creating a hole and causing water leakage.
  • In 2020, a lightning strike caused cracks in the concrete wall of a residential building in Mumbai, India, exposing the steel reinforcement bars and posing a risk of collapse.

These incidents show how important it is to have proper lightning protection systems for structures, especially those that are tall or have historical or cultural value. A lightning rod can reduce the likelihood of such damage by providing a low-resistance path for the lightning current to flow to the ground. By doing so, it protects the structure from overheating, fire, and explosion.

Protect people

Lightning rods can protect people by reducing the risk of being struck by lightning or injured by its effects. In fact, lightning can cause serious injuries or death to people who are directly hit by it or who are in contact with conductive objects that are struck by it. Some of the common injuries caused by lightning are burns, cardiac arrest, nerve damage, hearing loss, and blindness.

Some examples of how lightning rods can protect people are:
  • In 2019, a family of four was saved from a lightning strike that hit their house in Florida, USA. The house had a lightning protection system. The system diverted the electric current away from the house and prevented any damage or injury to the occupants.
  • In 2020, a group of tourists was visiting the Statue of Liberty in New York, USA, when a thunderstorm occurred. The statue has a copper skin that acts as a natural lightning rod. The statue was struck by lightning several times, but none of the visitors or staff were harmed.
  • In 2021, a man was working on his farm in Queensland, Australia, when he saw a lightning bolt heading towards him. He quickly ran towards his tractor, which had a metal rod attached to its roof. The rod acted as a makeshift lightning rod and attracted the lightning away from the man. The man suffered some minor burns on his hands and feet, but he survived the incident.


The importance of installing lightning rods on buildings and structures that are exposed to lightning strikes is shown by these incidents. Lightning rods can save lives and property by providing a safe path for the electric current to reach the ground.

Conclusion

People have used lightning rods for centuries to protect buildings from lightning, because they are simple and effective devices. The principle of the lightning rod was first discovered by Benjamin Franklin in 1749, who conducted experiments with kites and keys during thunderstorms. He later invented the first practical lightning rod for household application in 1753 and made further improvements in 1760.

Today, there are different types of lightning rods available, such as pointed, rounded, flat, or bristle-like. They can also vary in size, shape, material, and design. However, the most important factor for a lightning rod to work properly is its connection to the ground. The ground cable should be thick enough to carry the high current safely and buried deep enough to reach moist soil. The ground cable should also avoid sharp bends, metal pipes, or other conductors that could interfere with its function.

Therefore, consult a qualified professional who can assess your needs. Besides, you should also consider that the professional provides you with the best solution if you are willing to install a lightning rod in your home. A proper installation of a lightning rod requires careful planning, measurement, testing, and inspection. You should also check your local codes and regulations regarding lightning protection systems.

Lightning rods do not guarantee that lightning will never affect your home. However, they can significantly reduce the chances of damage and injury. By investing in a lightning rod, you can enjoy the beauty and wonder of lightning without fear.

TAKO since 1979 Earthing and Lightning Protection System is your one-stop-shop for all your lightning protection needs. We offer a comprehensive range of products and services to provide you with a total solution. TAKO Earthing and Lightning Protection System have over 21 years of experience in the field. Our team of experts has a wealth of knowledge and experience from design and installation to testing and maintenance. Trust TAKO Earthing and Lightning Protection System for a total solution to your lightning protection needs. 

FAQs

What does a lightning rod do?

A lightning rod is a metal rod mounted on top of a structure, typically a tall building or a home, designed to protect the structure from lightning strikes. It works by providing a low-resistance path to the ground for the lightning strike, thus diverting the electrical current away from the structure and reducing the risk of damage or fire.

Do lightning rods really work?

Yes, lightning rods do work. When properly installed and maintained, they can significantly reduce the likelihood of a lightning strike causing harm to a building or its occupants.

Why are lightning rods not used anymore?

Lightning rods are still used today, especially in areas prone to frequent lightning strikes. However, advancements in building construction and lightning protection systems have led to the integration of other methods alongside lightning rods, such as surge protectors and grounding systems. While lightning rods remain effective, modern buildings often incorporate a combination of these technologies for enhanced protection against lightning strikes.

What does it mean to say someone is a lightning rod?

Figuratively, when someone is described as a “lightning rod,” it means they attract attention, criticism, or controversy. They become a focal point for discussion or conflict, much like how a lightning rod attracts lightning strikes. This term is often used in politics, business, or other contexts where individuals draw attention or serve as a catalyst for debate.

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