How to protect yourself from lightning

Lightning strikes can damage electrical appliances and, in the worst case, start fires. Follow this advice to make sure you’re prepared for thunder storms.

Lightning strikes can cause power surges in the electrical system. Appliances then receive higher voltages than they have been designed for. This can destroy electrical equipment or start fires. Equipment can also be weakened by lightning, which means that you might not notice the damage for several weeks. Electronic equipment is particularly vulnerable, but even kettles, fridges and freezers are easily damaged.

Pull out the plugs

If the electrical appliances are not plugged in, they are guaranteed not to be destroyed as a result of power surges. If the storm continues for some time, or if you are on holiday, obviously you should not unplug fridges and freezers.

Unplug network and TV cables

Power surges also find their way through cables attached to TVs, landline phones and modems. You should therefore also unplug these cables to prevent damage to this kind of equipment if there is a lightning strike. Unplugging any cables that lead out of the house is sufficient, if it is possible for you to do this.

Install a surge protector

A surge protector diverts the power surge away from appliances. It reduces the risk that electrical equipment will be damaged by lightning strikes or disruptions to the electrical grid.

You can have surge protectors fitted or plug them directly into sockets. If you have a surge protector in your fuse box, any electrical equipment that is connected to the system will be protected. Surge protectors that plug directly into sockets are also known as plug-in surge protectors. You can use these on appliances that are particularly vulnerable, such as TVs and computers. Check that plug-in protectors are suitable for the Norwegian system of 375 V.

It is a legal requirement for electrical systems installed after 1 July 2010 to have surge protectors fitted. You can find information on this in the fuse box. You can also contact an electrician to check, if you are not sure.

If you have an older system, you should contact an electrician to have surge protection installed.

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