Reporting Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Lightning fires seem rare. But are they?
The Insurance Federation of Minnesota says around 2,100 insured homeowners in the state are struck by lightning.
Minnesota ranks 20th in lightning strikes. Georgia is number one.
It appears two homes were leveled Friday morning from lightning — one in Eden Prarie, another in Minnetonka.
No one was hurt, but damage was extreme.
The Insurance Federstion of Minnesota offers this advice:
– For protection from lightning strikes in the general area of your home or an externally produced surge, a whole-house surge protector is the best starting point for reducing the risk of damage or a fire.
– Install additional protection for important or expensive electronic equipment. This should include localized surge protection for power cords to the electronic equipment and any telephone and cable/satellite TV lines connecting to the equipment.
– Make sure all equipment is UL-listed and properly labeled.
– Lightning protection systems are designed to protect a structure and provide a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of the lightning bolt. The system neither attracts nor repels a strike, but receives the stroke and routes it harmlessly into the earth, thus discharging the dangerous electrical event. Be sure the lightning protection system is designed and installed in accordance with accepted industry standards.
Here are good tips for personal protection from the Lightning Protection Institute:
– Treat lightning with proper caution. If you are outside and a thunderstorm approaches, immediately seek shelter inside a fully enclosed building.
– If a building is not available, take shelter in a car with a metal top and keep doors and windows closed.
– Certain locations are extremely hazardous during thunderstorms. Avoid lakes, beaches or open water; fishing from a boat or dock; and riding on golf carts, farm equipment, motorcycles or bicycles. Never seek shelter under a tree!
– If caught outdoors, try to minimize your risk by going to a place of lower elevation.
– Stay off the telephone. In your home, do not stand near open windows, doorways or metal piping. Stay away from the TV, plumbing, sinks, tubs, radiators and stoves. Avoid contact with small electric appliances such as radios, toasters and hairdryers.