Innovention’s StormStruck Adds Lightning to Its Repertoire

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 25  — The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes–FLASH(R) and the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) are joining forces to promote public awareness about lightning safety and lightning protection. In recognition of National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 21-27, 2009, FLASH and LPI signed a partnership agreement on June 22, 2009 at StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes(R) at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot(R) at the Walt Disney World(R) Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL.

NOAA launched an annual Lightning Safety Awareness campaign in 2001 to increase awareness of the dangers of lightning and provide the public with safety information to help protect families and their property. Matt Bragaw, forecaster and lightning specialist with NOAA’s National Weather Service joined FLASH and LPI representatives for the partnership signing and tour of the StormStruck exhibit.

StormStruck is an interactive and educational weather exhibit that enables guests from around the world to experience the power of a weather event while learning how to best prepare for floods, hail, high winds, lightning and more. The exhibit features a spectacular, simulated 4-D weather experience that combines a variety of weather hazards into one “storm.” After guests have experienced the storm, they learn about cutting edge scientific research and new construction technologies that can protect their home.

“Lightning is a dangerous and unpredictable force of nature which is responsible for millions of dollars in damage to buildings, communication systems, power lines and electrical systems each year,” says Leslie Chapman-Henderson, CEO and president of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc.–FLASH.

The average cost of a homeowner insurance claim from a lightning strike has more than doubled since 2004, rising to $5,321 in 2007, according to statistics from the Insurance Information Institute (III). Packing up to 100 million volts of electricity, a lightning strike to an unprotected home or business can be disastrous, with lightning most often igniting roofs, sidewalls, framing and electrical wires.

“Home and business owners needn’t take chances with lightning,” explains Bud VanSickle, executive director of the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI). A professionally-installed lightning protection system which meets U.S. Safety Standards (LPI, NFPA and UL) will prevent lightning damage by providing a safe electrical path into the earth for lightning’s destructive energy.”

FLASH and LPI are two nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to strengthening homes and safeguarding families from lightning. Both organizations feature educational resources such as brochures and short videos about lightning protection loss prevention and home lightning safety on their websites.

FLASH is a 501 (C) (3) collaboration of organizations dedicated to strengthening homes and safeguarding families from disaster. Based in Tallahassee, FLASH is the nation’s fastest-growing disaster safety education organization with more than 100 partners including FEMA, FL Division of Emergency Management, Georgia Pacific, the Home Depot, International Code Council, National Weather Service, Renaissance Reinsurance, Simpson Strong-Tie, State Farm, USAA and WeatherPredict Consulting, Inc. To learn more about FLASH and access free resources, visit www.flash.org call (877) 221-SAFE (7233).

LPI is a not-for-profit, nationwide group founded in 1955 to promote lightning safety, awareness and protection education. The organization provides a certification program to qualify competence in lightning protection installation, design and inspection. LPI offers a list of certified contractors across the U.S. Visit the LPI website at www.lightning.org for more information.

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