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  • Safety and the weather.

    Last night was a little exciting. Got to see a lightening show that reminded me of how we need to be on our toes in inclement weather (for all professions really).

    We had the Mother of all rain, lightening, thunder storms last night. Around 9PM it really hit. I saw lightening bolts that seemed to last 2 to 3 seconds. Lightening streaks were everywhere at the same time. Now, common sense tells me "they ain't no commies comin' over the fence in this weather." But, I'm one of those that does the job no matter what. Altho I was having resrvations about going on a patrol in this 'stuff'. Since lightening had taken out the electricity (and for some reason the multi-million dollar automatic generator set up did not start, well it did cost a bunch of tax payor money.) I decided to sit on the covered porch and watch the light show.

    One of my assignments is a 30 acre site enclosed with an 8 foot chain link fence about a mile from the Security Office. Lightening struck somewhere in or near that site. I watched a yellow/blue/green colored fireball go almost completely the full length around the fence and then out into the range where it disappeared. I mean to tell you it lit up the place like you had flood lights on it. And the crack/bang like to have knocked me outta my chair.

    There were several stikes in the immediate area during the storm. One strike was a large pine tree at the edge of the range. It looked like someone took a big knife and carved a spiral groove from top to bottom of the tree. And about 20 feet of top was blown off of it. The rain put out the fire that followed the strike.

    I spent the rest of the storm event "inside" the well grounded Security structure. I figured the place will still be there "after" the storm so I'll go back to work then.

  • #2
    Yes it was quite fun last night. I stood outside in the poring rain directing traffic. People getting mad because I still wouldn't let them drop off in front of the building (I was being nice and letting them use the garage.)

    One lady tried to cuss at me...saying why should she have to get wet, I looked at my soaked raincoat, said "Just because I have to!"

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    • #3
      Good going, remember the 30-30 rule. Up to a billion volts both AC and DC with up to 500,000 amperes.
      Enjoy the day,
      Bill

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mh892 View Post
        .....
        One of my assignments is a 30 acre site enclosed with an 8 foot chain link fence about a mile from the Security Office. Lightening struck somewhere in or near that site. I watched a yellow/blue/green colored fireball go almost completely the full length around the fence and then out into the range where it disappeared. I mean to tell you it lit up the place like you had flood lights on it...
        That's called an "electric" fence.
        Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mr. Security View Post
          That's called an "electric" fence.
          Oh yeah, good one.

          Now, one thing I don't understand is grounding straps. Why bother???? At each post where there are gate hinges there are 1/4" x 1" braided steel grounding straps connected to the fence and grounding rods driven into the ground. I have seen lightening strikes go down one of these fences and right accross the double gates like they weren't there.

          A couple folks I've worked with feel it is safe to open, close, lock chain link gates during lightening storms "because its grounded". O.K. Go right ahead. Have at it. On the DOR and Cetificate I'll make the entry, "Grounding straps tested on entry control gate. Grounding straps failed test criteria."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mh892 View Post
            Oh yeah, good one.

            Now, one thing I don't understand is grounding straps. Why bother???? At each post where there are gate hinges there are 1/4" x 1" braided steel grounding straps connected to the fence and grounding rods driven into the ground. I have seen lightening strikes go down one of these fences and right accross the double gates like they weren't there.

            A couple folks I've worked with feel it is safe to open, close, lock chain link gates during lightening storms "because its grounded". O.K. Go right ahead. Have at it. On the DOR and Cetificate I'll make the entry, "Grounding straps tested on entry control gate. Grounding straps failed test criteria."
            Dead on mh892, dead on!
            Some people fail to realize that lightning like your home electric service will always choose the easiest path to ground. If you are touching, well whatever, the easiest path is YOU.
            A year or so ago, folks leaning against a fence were shocked by a bolt that traveled some, I think 25, 30, or more miles from a cloud. Thunder was not heard but folks sure got knocked around a bit.
            Enjoy the day,
            Bill

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bill Warnock View Post
              Good going, remember the 30-30 rule. Up to a billion volts both AC and DC with up to 500,000 amperes.
              Enjoy the day,
              Bill
              Not to get way off topic, but..........

              I got a little bored this evening so did some research by typing in Lightening on the puter. GEEZE! There are some wild stories about lightening strikes and scientific research info. No wonder I stay in the house during a storm.

              Some lightening experts claim that during a lightening strike the current is discharged from the earth 'to' the cloud. Coulda fooled me. Appeared to me those bolts were coming "from" the clouds.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mh892 View Post
                Some lightening experts claim that during a lightening strike the current is discharged from the earth 'to' the cloud. Coulda fooled me. Appeared to me those bolts were coming "from" the clouds.
                That is actually the way it works. When Lightning strikes it is a charge from the earth to the air that you cannot see, but when it is lit up it appears to be coming down from the sky.
                "Alright guys listen up, ya'll have probably heard this before, Jackson vs. Securiplex corporation; I am a private security officer, I have no State or governmental authority. I stand as an ordinary citizen. I have no right to; detain, interrogate or otherwise interfere with your personal property-... basically all that means is I'm a cop."-Officer Ernie
                "The Curve" 1998

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                • #9
                  Indeed. Lightning creates an ionization path running up to the cloud from the ground. This creates the electrical path. Once it hits the top, the circuit is completed and the ionized air becomes superheated, creating the "bolt" of lightning.

                  When you feel a strong "static" tingle, you are in the ionized path and are about to be electrocuted. One the path completes the circuit, the charge will dump from sky to ground.
                  Some Kind of Commando Leader

                  "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
                    Indeed. Lightning creates an ionization path running up to the cloud from the ground. This creates the electrical path. Once it hits the top, the circuit is completed and the ionized air becomes superheated, creating the "bolt" of lightning.

                    When you feel a strong "static" tingle, you are in the ionized path and are about to be electrocuted. One the path completes the circuit, the charge will dump from sky to ground.
                    Nathan, you know what is ironic in all of this? Security Officer training in most instances don't even mention what to do in the event of an oncoming thunderstorm. I used my Air Force training as a AP/SP to conduct an ad hoc course for some of us who were assigned to provide security for a pro golf match in Dayton Ohio.
                    Enjoy the day,
                    Bill

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                    • #11
                      80% of my job is mobile patrol hitting 20 electrical transmission and distribution substations each night. Even in perfect weather, it is common to get a static shock, and hair stands on end while under the higher voltage lines and switches. Many of these normally crackle, buzz and hiss loudly. The substations are all at least 3 acres large, the largest being nearly a square mile. No fun at all when there is lightening.
                      formerly C&A

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