T&D News 2008 Number 2

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When Lightning Strikes

Age, theft, and vandalism take a toll on lightning protection systems at Forest Service lookouts and communications facilities. The tech tip "Evaluating Lightning Protection on Lookouts and Communication Facilities" (0873–2333–MTDC) includes information on the fundamentals of lightning protection and on standards that can help Forest Service employees determine whether they need to seek assistance when inspecting lightning protection systems.

This is a picture of a large wire suspended in air. Although not shown, the wire is presumably connecting a lightning rod to a buried grounding component.Lightning rods, or air terminals, should be in place on the top of a structure; ground rods or wire loops should be buried at the base of the structure; and large-diameter copper wire and/or a metal tower structure must connect the air terminals with the buried grounding components. This tech tip lists items that must be connected to the lightning protection wiring and includes several references for standards and approved hardware.

For more information on lightning protection systems, contact Ted Etter, project leader (phone: 406-329-3980; e-mail: tetter@fs.fed.us).

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