Local Company Develops Lightning Protection Technology

When lightning strikes, electronic equipment can be a costly victim. "Electrical damage from lightning is in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year," said Dennis Page, an Effingham County man who came up with a novel approach to lightning protection.

"I owned a music store in Savannah, on Eisenhower Drive," he told us. "And every day during the summertime I would unplug my computer, because I knew it could get fried by lightning. I envisioned that maybe there was a way that I could push a button and pull the plug."

That's just what he says his Strike UPS device does for computers, televisions and other electronics plugged into it. His company, Savannah-based Storm Shelter Electronics, subscribes to a national lightning strike data service. When activity near is detected near a subscriber, the device receives a page, causing it to almost literally unplug the electronics.

The signal creates a physical disconnect in the unit items plug into, triggering a .75-inch break in the circuit, essentially unplugging your electronic valuables. But say you're working on something important: some devices plugged into the Strike UPS are connected to a battery backup, so they never shut.

Page says it's something businesses in particular need watch for. "They're very susceptible to a lightning strike coming in and wiping out their equipment and their data. And it's valuable data. If it hits them, they could be wiped out of business. And we protect them from that."

And he says he can find a lot of his business close to home. "The southeast United States is where the bulk of lightning occurs and that's where we're going to concentrate our efforts."

He says his efforts can keep the worst from happening when lightning strikes.

More online at www.stoplightning.com.

Reported by: Charles Gray, cgray@wtoc.com