Do I Need Lightning Protection?

Evaluate your risk with the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA 780-2000) online Risk Assessment Guide below.

Lightning loss risk assessment involves the evaluation of various criteria to determine the risk of loss due to lightning. This guide is designed to assist in that determination. As a guide, it is not possible to cover each special design element that may render a structure more or less susceptible to lightning damage. In these special cases it is recommended the user seek professional advice. Personal and economic factors are very important and must be considered in addition to the assessment obtained by use of this guide.

To determine the need for protection against lightning for a given building or structure, the following variables are to be considered:

  1. Lightning Flash Density
  2. Structures Collective Area
  3. Relative Structure Location
  4. Type of Construction
  5. Structure Contents
  6. Occupancy
  7. Lightning Consequence
  8. Submit the Information

In the following areas, select the option that best describes your situation. After you have selected all the options, use the "Calculate Risk" button at the bottom of the page. Your risk assessment will be returned.

Step 1 - Lightning Flash Density

Few areas in the United States are free from thunderstorms and their attendant hazards, but some areas have more storms than others. The map shows the average lightning flash density in flashes/km2/year - for the United States. Please select the area where the structure is located.

10-year Flash Density Map - U.S. 1989-1999 Average U.S.
Flashes/km2/yr
USA Map
(select one)
0.1
0.5
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
10.0
12.0
14.0
16.0
Lightning Density Map provided by Global Atmospherics, Inc. Tucson Arizona.

Step 2 - Structures Collective Area

Select the type of structure that is relative to your circumstances and enter required values.

Rectangular structure
Enter values in (ft)
L =       W =      H =
Risk
Structure where a prominent part encompasses all portions of the lower part of the structure
Enter value in (ft)
H =
Risk

Step 3 - Relative Structure Location (select one)

Select relative structure location based on appropriate drawing above.

Structure located within a space containing structures or trees of the same height or taller within a distance of 3H
Structure surrounded by smaller structures within a distance of 3H
Isolated structure, no other structures located within a distance of 3H
Isolated structure on a hilltop

Step 4 - Type of Construction

Framework (select one)
Metal
Nonmetallic
Flammable

Roof (select one)
Metal
Nonmetallic
Flammable

Step 5 - Structure Contents

Low value and nonflammable
Standard value and nonflammable
High value, moderate flammability
Exceptional value, flammable, computer or electronics
Exceptional value, irreplaceable cultural items

Step 6 - Occupancy (select one)

Unoccupied
Normally occupied
Difficult to evacuate or risk of panic

Step 7 - Lightning Consequence (select one)

Continuity of facility services not required, no environmental impact
Continuity of facility services required, no environmental impact
Consequences to the environment

Step 8- Submit the information

Now that you've completed all the above steps, please submit your information and your calculated risk assessment shall be returned