Lightning damages equipment

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digitalanalog

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Nunya,USA
POSTED: June 6, 2008

COLUMBIANA — An early morning lightning strike in the Columbiana area damaged several pieces of electrical equipment in city hall, including the police radio system.

Police Chief John Krawchyk reported he was called into the police department around 5:30 a.m. Thursday, during the storm and shortly after the lightning strike, to handle the situation in the police department. While the police radio, an essential piece of equipment for police communication, was “fried” as a result of the strike and ensuing power surge, the department was able to use backup equipment to make the system operational again.

“We took a pretty good hit last night, but we’re up and running,” he said at around 10 a.m. Thursday. “Not 100 percent, but we’re still running.”

Several other pieces of equipment in both the police department and the governmental offices of city hall were damaged by the electrical surge as well, ranging from office equipment to computer systems. City Manager Keith Chamberlin and Finance Director Kevin Smith were out of the office Thursday and were not on site to provide a tally of the damaged equipment.

Krawchyk had no way of determining the amount of monetary damage.

He was having difficulty determining the exact point of the strike, noting he had spoken with Leetonia Police Chief John Soldano, who reported he had not located any electrical damage in that nearby village.

Source : http://www.morningjournalnews.com/page/content.detail/id/502224.html?nav=5006
 

jim202

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New Orleans region
Without actually seeing the damage and looking the facility over, my money would be on a poor
grounding system and no surge protection on any of the damaged equipment. I find in my travels
around the country to many public safety agencies, grounding and surge protection are not very
high on any list of things to do. This does change after the first major repair job though.

Part of the problem stems from who ever the local radio service shop is. Generally they don't
like to talk about installing any form of protection. They view this position on cutting in on their
service repair income. The more protection that is installed, the less they will get a call to
come out and repair the damaged equipment.

On the other hand, if you look at it from the public safety side of the fence, it costs money to install
any form of protection. It has to come out of the budget someplace. If it is a lightning strike,
then it comes mostly from the insurance company. Not a good position to be gambling from,
but it goes this way all the time. Unless you have a person on the inside pushing to take an
active stand and put in the protection, it probably won't happen.

When the comm center goes down and you can't answer the phones or talk on the radio, then
and only then does this issue get any notice. Depending on the political situation at the moment,
this will determine the long term results. If I was the local tax payer, I would be asking some hard
questions on why this was allowed to happen in the first place.

Putting on my hat from the cellular construction days, yes you can harden a facility and make
it survive a direct strike. Does it cost money, yes. Is it affordable, by all means. It is cheaper
to install a good grounding system and install good surge protection than it is to repair the
equipment that was damaged.

How much does it cost to install this protection? That depends on who you talk to. I have seen
a consulting firm give a dispatch center an estimate of $350,000 for a grounding system. If I
was that agency and a firm gave me that price, I would drop them like a hot potato and go
elsewhere. Look at it this way, what does a couple hundred feet of #2 tinned bare copper
wire cost. Add in enough ground rods to go in every 16 feet or so around the facility. Throw
in a good power line surge protector for $1500 to $2000. Add in some labor to dig, exotherically
weld all the connections, refill the trench, drill some holes in the building wall, add the surge
protector into the main feed to the electronics and radios, ground all the equipment inside
the room and throw in a few boxes of donuts.

Time wise, shouldn't take more than about a weeks worth of labor for a couple of people.
Don't forget to ground the radio tower and antennas while your at it. Total bill, a far cry
from the consulting firm's proposal.

Jim



POSTED: June 6, 2008

COLUMBIANA — An early morning lightning strike in the Columbiana area damaged several pieces of electrical equipment in city hall, including the police radio system.

Police Chief John Krawchyk reported he was called into the police department around 5:30 a.m. Thursday, during the storm and shortly after the lightning strike, to handle the situation in the police department. While the police radio, an essential piece of equipment for police communication, was “fried” as a result of the strike and ensuing power surge, the department was able to use backup equipment to make the system operational again.

“We took a pretty good hit last night, but we’re up and running,” he said at around 10 a.m. Thursday. “Not 100 percent, but we’re still running.”

Several other pieces of equipment in both the police department and the governmental offices of city hall were damaged by the electrical surge as well, ranging from office equipment to computer systems. City Manager Keith Chamberlin and Finance Director Kevin Smith were out of the office Thursday and were not on site to provide a tally of the damaged equipment.

Krawchyk had no way of determining the amount of monetary damage.

He was having difficulty determining the exact point of the strike, noting he had spoken with Leetonia Police Chief John Soldano, who reported he had not located any electrical damage in that nearby village.

Source : http://www.morningjournalnews.com/page/content.detail/id/502224.html?nav=5006
 
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