Fire Prevention Codes
When the original lightning rod systems were developed, their sole purpose was to prevent a building from catching on fire and burning down due to the intense heat buildup from a direct lightning strike.
The first structural lightning protection systems were applied primarily to barns, church steeples, schools, courthouses, and other public buildings that were typically much larger and taller than the average homes of the day.
This focus on fire prevention is the very reason that our current modern-day lightning protection systems are regulated by codes written by the National Fire Protection Agency. The same basic principles apply to a structural lightning protection system designed for your home today. The primary function is to prevent a catastrophic loss due to lightning strikes.
There are two main differences between the original designs of old lightning protection systems and today’s contemporary lightning protection systems. The first difference is the development of the codes and installation guidelines that regulate the manufacturing and installation of the lightning protection components and systems. Underwriter’s Laboratories has written specifications and testing procedures that regulate the manufacturing of all lightning protection components and equipment.
ALP Systems, Inc. uses materials manufactured by Independent Protection Company. IPC is one of the oldest and most reliable manufacturers of lightning protection equipment in the country. Underwriter’s Laboratories also provides installation guidelines that are based on the National Fire Protection Agency code NPFA 780 guidelines for the installation of lightning protection systems. UL will also, for a fee, provide an on-site inspection of the lightning protection system installation and provide the owner of the building with a UL Master Label Certification that all of the equipment used in the system was manufactured and installed according to UL codes. These types of certifications are not typically performed on residential installations purely due to cost restrictions but are always available if requested.
The second and probably most important difference in today’s lightning protection systems is the change in the homes that we live in. We are no longer simply trying to prevent a barn full of hay from burning down. With the progress of technology, we have taken our homes and filled them with electrical wiring and electronic equipment valued at tens of thousands, and in some cases even hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of computer systems, home theaters, entertainment systems, electronic appliances, smart home controls, alarm systems, and the like.
A properly designed and installed lightning protection system will take all of this into account and provide protection for the entire home, both inside and out, including all of the electrical and electronic equipment that is installed. In actuality, many times, we have almost as much financially invested in what we put inside our homes as we do in the building itself. New UL codes require that a surge protection device be installed on the main AC power panel along with the structural lightning protection system. This will provide a level of protection for the electrical equipment inside the house from electrical transients or power surges that may enter the home on the main power supply.
What Sets Us Apart
The experience that ALP Systems, Inc. has acquired in the commercial/industrial market is one of the main determining factors that sets us apart from our competition in the lightning protection installation business. ALP has years of experience providing engineering services and performing problem-solving site surveys and inspections for all types of industries, from petroleum refineries to manufacturing facilities.
We have performed thousands of commercial and industrial installations all over the world. While most LP installers only provide the minimum system required by codes, ALP Systems, Inc. utilizes our years of experience and technical capabilities to survey your home and provide a system design that will not only satisfy the installation codes and requirements but will also offer you complete protection for your entire home, including all of the electronic equipment inside your home.
This includes any specialty surge protection devices required to protect your sensitive electronics. Our experience also shows in our professional certifications. ALP Systems, Inc. is a member of LPI—the Lightning Protection Institute—a nonprofit organization that provides training and certifications for lightning protection designers, such as architects and engineers, and the installers of lightning protection systems. ALP Systems, Inc. is proud that the installations division of our company is supervised by an LPI-certified Master Designer and Master Installer, Eric Bean.
All of our field supervisors and project managers are also at a minimum LPI-certified Journeyman Installers level, and all of our installation crew, even our apprentices, are in the LPI training program. Please contact us today for a free estimate to protect your home and family. As we all know, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”