Protect Your Home and Personal Property From Lightning Storms

With spring, comes lightning storms. Many people enjoy watching as they illuminate the dark night. Mother Nature puts on a beautiful show as the lightning bolts streak across the sky, sometimes flashing for what seems to be an eternity.

The not-so-beautiful part of spring storms is that they cause more property loss in any given year than floods, tornadoes and hurricanes combined! Lightning is a discharge of electrical energy in the atmosphere and flashes from one cloud to another. Therefore, the first thing most people think of when lightning is present is the chance for a fire.

Though lightning storms can happen any season – any month, for that matter – storm season is June through August. Early spring comes in as a close second for active, damaging lightning storms. July has the highest number of lightning fires; 41% strike residential and other structures.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, approximately 17,400 fires are caused by lightning on an annual basis, resulting in a total of $138 million in property damage. The dollar loss per fire is almost double that of other fires.

PROTECTION

The first thing you might think of is a lightning rod. Though many think they attract lightning, what they really do is provide a safe path for the electricity to follow to the ground.

In addition to the structure, you must also protect the personal property inside. Electrical surges often occur and can damage TVs, computers and other electronics. A surge protector installed at the main electrical panel and also at the outlets will often prevent sudden spikes in electrical current, which could have resulted in “fried” electronics.

RECOVERY

Review your insurance policy with your agent to make sure you have sufficient coverage on your home and the personal property inside.

Also, create an inventory of all the personal property you own (personal property is described as all items that will fall out of a building when turned upside down and shaken). Insurance companies will require this list when you file a claim for the loss. They will ask for each item you want replaced, what you paid for it, when you purchased it and who the manufacturer was. They will also request model numbers and serial numbers for appliances, electronics, power tools, etc.

Proper insurance and a personal property inventory – together, these will enable you to recover financially if a lightning storm results in a fire that damages or destroys your home or business. You’ll not only have your inventory to file the insurance claim quickly, this will lessen the stress while it maximizes your settlement.

A Little-Known Trick to Make Your Computer Run Lightning Fast

If your computer is running slow, I know how annoying it can be to not be able to use the programs you want, or have your computer load up properly. A slow computer is a huge problem for millions of computer users & businesses around the World, and is actually quite difficult to fix if you don’t know what’s wrong. Fortunately, there’s a trick you can use to make your compute run extremely quickly again, even if it’s old or has some other problems.

The way to fix a slow computer is to repair the various problems that cause your system to run slow in the first place. Windows PCs don’t run slow intentionally – it’s usually a series of “road blocks” which cause your system to take longer to load the files it needs, and run slower. There are several reasons why a computer might run slowly, but there’s one issue which is extremely common and very easy to fix.

The main problem with Windows computers is all down to a part of your PC called the “registry”. This is a database which stores vital information, settings & options for your system, and is like the “Yellow Pages” for your PC. The registry database is constantly being used by your computer to help it read & recall a huge number of settings that your system requires to run… however, because this part of your PC is being used so much, it’s constantly developing a lot of errors & problems, which will cause your PC to slow down.

The ‘registry’ is one of the most important parts of Windows which is constantly being used by your PC. Each day you use your computer, 100’s of registry settings are being opened to help recall things like your desktop wallpaper and your most recent emails. However, Windows often has so many of these files open at once, that it’s continually saving many of them incorrectly, which is like tearing up a telephone book and mixing up all its pages. Corrupt & misplaced registry settings cause all sorts of problems for your PC, and is the biggest reasons why people’s computers run slow.

The trick to boosting the speed of your PC is to use a “registry repair program” to scan through the registry database and fix any of the damaged settings that are inside it. Registry repair tools are software programs that will fix all the registry errors on your PC, allowing your computer to run like it did when it was new. By using one of these programs, you can make your computer run as smoothly and effectively as it did when it was new & did not have any registry errors… and is what an increasing number of people are now using to help make their PCs run like new.

Lightning Safety for the Home

Lightning causes approximately 17,400 fires each year in the United States. Peak season begins in June, so now is the time to learn how to protect your home and loved ones with these lightning safety tips.

It took firefighters six days to gain control of a wildfire that burned more than 70,600 acres in Southern California’s Mojave National Preserve, located about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles and 40 miles west of the Nevada border.

Five separate blazes were sparked by lightning on Wednesday, June 22, 2005. They soon merged to create a major wildfire, which was finally contained at 6 p.m. Monday, June 27. Because the area is remote, only five homes, six trailers, two cabins and a few other buildings were destroyed, but families were forced to evacuate.

More than 900 firefighters battled what Capt. Greg Cleveland of the Southern California Incident Management Team called “the largest fire on record within the 1.6-million-acre preserve,” according to the Los Angeles Times. Thousands of acres of dry grass, juniper, sagebrush and piƱon–bushy and overgrown after last winter’s record rainfall–were quickly engulfed as strong winds fanned flames. When the winds started to die down on Sunday, firefighters caught the break they needed.

A Summertime Jolt

The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that lightning causes 17,400 fires each year, with an average of 10 deaths, 75 injuries and $138 million in property damage. Two-thirds of these disasters occur between June and August (25 percent in July alone). Most lightning strikes occur outdoors, igniting brush, grass and other materials; 41 percent hit homes and interior structures, zapping roofs, sidewalls, framing and electrical wires with up to 100 million volts of electricity. The overwhelming majority of casualties (89 percent) are caused by structure fires. In fact, a 2003 Insurance Research Council survey revealed that 25 percent of homeowner claims cite lightning or hail as the cause of their losses.

Lightning Safety Tips for Homeowners

As a homeowner, you can take preventive measures, says Bud VanSickle, executive director of the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI), a nonprofit group based in St. Joseph, Mo., that promotes lightning safety, awareness and education.
“Home and business owners needn’t take their chances with lightning,” he says. “A professionally installed lightning protection system that meets U.S. safety standards will prevent lightning damage by providing a safe electrical path into the earth for lightning’s destructive energy.”

LPI provides a list of certified U.S. contractors on its website. Before hiring a consultant, follow the institute’s guidelines:

  • Make sure materials and methods comply with nationally recognized safety standards of the LPI, National Fire Protection Association and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL).
  • Only an experienced and reputable UL-listed, LPI-certified lightning protection contractor should install your system. Other tradesmen are typically unqualified to install lightning protection.
  • Check references. A qualified specialist should provide a list of references and affiliations with industry groups.
  • Ask about surge protection. Lightning-induced surges to your home or business can damage electronics and appliances. A qualified lightning protection contractor can provide options for service entrance arresters and point-of-use surge protection devices.
  • Experience counts. Be wary of start-up companies or contractors offering a “price deal” to install, fix or repair your lightning protection system. Compare their prices and quality with other lightning protection companies in your area.
  • When in doubt, contact your local Better Business Bureau to obtain reliability report information on a company or contractor before you hire.