Taking action for you: protecting your home from the dangers of a lightning strike

Lightning strikes can be devastating and costly for homeowners. Wednesday, two houses in the bay area caught fire after they were struck by lightning.
"Probably about 95 percent of the interior belongings are gone," Bill Stevens said said.
Stevens, it's the worst case scenario. Lightning striking his home while he and his wife were away.
The house caught fire, destroying everything and killing his two believed dogs trapped inside.
"That's the worst part of it," Stevens said. "The house can be rebuilt and everything in it can be replaced. I'm not worried about that, but I'll never have those two again."
But the surge of electricity produced by a lightning strike can cause serious damage without your house catching fire.
"It will find it's quickest path to ground," said electrician Pete Klein.
Klein says in an instant, a lightning strike can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to anything connected to your electrical system.
"Lightning has it's way of finding those expensive pieces of equipment and quite frankly destroys them pretty quickly," said Klein.
Klein said there are a few simple way to better protect yourself and your belongings.
If you're inside during severe weather, unplug things like your TV and computer.
Also, check a few things outside your house.
The meter on your house should have a grounding wire coming out the bottom.
And Klein recommends cutting back tree branches touching your house. He says they could transfer current to the house if a tree is struck.
But he says there is no full proof solution to an unpredictable force of nature.
"It doesn't go where you want it to go . It could very easily come in from an outlet. That's the problem," said Klein.
The Insurance Information Institute reports last year insurers paid more than $600 million in lightning claims to more than 100,000 policy holders.
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