Copper Lightning and Grounding System Ensures Uptime for 911 Center

May 3, 2016


NEW YORK, NY— COMTEC, a 25,000 square foot 9-1-1 communications center in Macomb County, Michigan recently installed a lightning protection and grounding system to ensure 24/7 operation and reduce the potential for costly repairs. Life-or-death situations should not be determined by an off air dispatch center. However, when lightning strikes a center without a proper lightning protection and grounding system in place, vital calls could go unanswered and first responders might never arrive to emergency situations.

“It’s critical that our communications services remain up and running because we’re often dealing with life-and-death situations in our 9-1-1 dispatch center, and we have to get our personnel to the injured as fast as possible,” said Victoria Wolber, the director of emergency management and communications for COMTEC.

During a recent building renovation, Wolber hired Guardian Equipment Company to install a lightning protection system. Since all communications systems need antenna towers, which naturally invite lightning strikes that can cause damage to a center’s sensitive equipment, it is important to equip the towers with robust, correctly designed and properly installed copper grounding systems to direct lightning energy away from sensitive equipment and harmlessly into the earth before it damages equipment.

“We knew that we had to call in experts who understood the lightning protection and grounding fields, knew our systems and knew what to do to protect our critical assets,” Wolber said. “We did that, and we’ve never had any lightning-caused downtime here at COMTEC.”

Since installed, all of the county’s properly grounded auxiliary transmission stations have never experienced a lightning-induced service disruption.

“Macomb County residents can thank smart decisions by COMTEC management, proper design and installation, regular maintenance and, of course, robust all-copper grounding and lightning protection systems for safeguarding their communications center,” said David Brender, the national program manager for the Copper Development Association (CDA). “Time has proven again and again that a simple and inexpensive grounding and lightning protection system upgrade can prevent property damage and even loss of life.”

For more information about copper in grounding systems or the electrical upgrades installed at COMTEC, download the Safety Center Tower Grounding case study from CDA’s website or view a short video of the project on CDA’s YouTube channel.