Georgia is one of the highest ranking states for lightning strikes during storms, according to statistics from the National Weather Service, leaving some to urge extra caution during stormy weather.
According to a press release from State Farm, Georgia took third place last year with over 8,000 lightning claims valued at over $66 million in 2016.
In 2016 there were 38 lightning deaths in the United States, compared with 26 in 2015 and 2014. From 2006 to 2016 on average about 31 people died each year from lightning strikes in the United States, according to the National Weather Service. The significant decline in lightning deaths is due to fewer farmers working in fields, along with technological advances, better lightning protection and awareness of lightning safety.
Florida had the most lightning deaths in 2016 with nine deaths, followed by four in Louisiana and New York, according to statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Mississippi reported three deaths, and Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina and Texas had two lightning deaths. Arizona, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin each reported one death.
Although lightning is weather-related and not a preventable event, opportunities exist for claim mitigation through the use of surge or current protection devices and appropriate grounding systems. In most lightning claims, damage is generally caused by power surges carried by the electrical wiring, TV cable or phone lines serving the home or business and usually involve one or more electronic items.
Safety Tips from Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS):
• July typically is the deadliest month for lightning strikes.
• For protection from lightning strikes in the general area of your home and externally produced surge, a whole-house surge protector is the best starting point for reducing the risk of damage or a fire.
• Install additional protection for important or expensive electronic equipment.
• This should include localized surge protection for power cords to the electronic equipment and any telephone and cable/satellite TV lines connecting to the equipment.
• Whole house surge protection will not protect you from a direct strike on your house. For added protection from a direct strike, you would need to add receptors on the roof and cables that would help direct the strike away from the interior of your house.
• Lightning protection systems are designed to protect a structure and provide a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of the lightning bolt. The system neither attracts nor repels a strike, but receives the strike and routes it harmlessly into the earth, thus discharging the dangerous electrical event.