Rep. Franklin Leads Efforts to Protect Public Buildings from Lightning

Drawing from his intensive studies of electricity, Rep. Franklin (IG-01) made a public letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee to include funding for safety in public buildings in the event of lightning storms.

Each year, lightning is responsible for about 24,000 deaths, about 240,000 injuries and millions of dollars in property damage around the world. Rep. Franklin had observed that a sharp iron needle would conduct electricity away from a charged metal sphere and protect people, buildings, and other structures from lightning.

A lightning rod, simply, is a rod attached to the top of a building (usually tall), connected to the ground through a wire. The electric charge from lightning strikes the rod and the charge is conducted harmlessly into the ground. This protects houses from burning down and people from electrocution.

“May not the knowledge of this power of points be of use to mankind, in preserving houses, churches, ships, etc., from the stroke of lightning, by directing us to fix, on the highest parts of those edifices, upright rods of iron made sharp as a needle…Would not these pointed rods probably draw the electrical fire silently out of a cloud before it came nigh enough to strike, and thereby secure us from that most sudden and terrible mischief!”

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