Ways to protect your home from lightning fires

CARMEL, Ind. -- Fire crews around central Indiana were busy during Tuesday's afternoon storms. A fire destroyed a garage in Carmel and in Johnson County, a family's house was destroyed.

Both fires are likely due to lightning.

While there's no way to prevent your home from getting hit with lightning, there are many ways to keep it from catching fire. One option includes installing a lightning protection system on your roof.

Rods are attached to the roof of a home. If hit with lightning, the flow goes through a cable and into a pole 10 feet into the ground.

"They don’t attract lightning and they don’t deter lightning from striking. All they do is provide the path of least resistance to the ground," explained Capitol Lightning Protection Co. Owner, Mark Benham.

If installed properly, Benham said the systems prove 99% protection. They run at about $3,000 for an average size home. You can also install surge protectors, especially if you have exterior outlets. Those run between $500 and $1,000.

Firefighters recommend you have a plan for severe weather, including if lightning were to strike your home.

"With lightning strikes, they’ll normally be a high burn, so the house will be struck in a peak or one of the high points and the it will chase across your attic space or in the garage," explained Carmel Fire Department PIO, Tim Griffin.

Griffin said the more smoke detectors, the better. Installing them in areas like your attic or garage can help warn you of early detection of a fire possibly caused by lightning.

"It may be two hours after that lightning strike that starts. It can happen fast or it can really sometimes be a slow process," Griffin said.

If you think your house may have been hit by lightning, the best thing to do is get out if it's safe to do so, and call 911. The fire department will respond and check areas of your home for a possible lightning strike before a fire gets out of control.

For more on lightning protection FAQ's, click here.

Click here to find certified lightning protection installers.