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Category Press Release
Publish Date 7/15/2016
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Property Damage and Indoor Environmental Issues Following a Lightning Strike
Introduction EMSL Analytical, Inc. provides testing services, sampling supplies and test kits to identify indoor exposure risks following property damage.

Cinnaminson, NJ, July 15th, 2016

The summer season includes the most dangerous months for lightning strikes in many parts of North America. In fact, during any second of the day, there may be anywhere from 50 to 100 lightning strikes that occur somewhere on the Earth.

As lightning passes through the air, it can heat it up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about five times hotter than the surface of the Sun according to the National Weather Service. When lightening makes contact with the ground, a massive electrical discharge occurs. All of this energy can kill or injure people and cause serious damage to properties. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute reports that as recently as 2014, there were almost 100,000 paid homeowners insurance claims for insured losses totaling almost three-fourths of a billion dollars for lightning damage in the United States alone.

Much of the property damage from lightning strikes is associated with fires. In an average year, U.S. Fire Departments respond to well over 20,000 fires that are started by lightning. When lightning causes a fire in a home or building, there is typically obvious damage due to flames. Even a small fire that is quickly extinguished can cause extensive smoke damage. In addition to odors, the corrosive effect of smoke residues can begin to cause extensive etching, corrosion and discoloration on indoor surfaces as time passes. Smoke residues can also harm or destroy sensitive electronics as can a lightning-caused power surge that could occur in the building’s electrical wiring system.

A lightning strike can also result in water damage if the building’s roof or siding is damaged due to a direct hit or from a tree that was hit and fell on a structure. Most wet building materials and belongings can support the growth of mold in as short as 48 hours if they remain wet. The presence of elevated levels of mold can cause indoor air quality issues and health concerns for building occupants as well as increase repair costs.

“Buildings that must undergo repairs due to a lightning strike could also present exposure hazards due to the possible presence of lead-based paints and asbestos-containing materials that are still commonly found in many residential and commercial buildings,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “At EMSL, we help to identify exposure risks in homes and buildings impacted by lightning with testing services for smoke residues, odors, water damage, mold, lead and asbestos.”

EMSL recently sponsored a video about property damage and indoor environmental quality issues following a lightning strike that can be seen at:

To learn more about indoor environmental testing or other property damage services, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email To view the complete line of indoor environmental test kits available from EMSL, visit

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies. 
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