New Grounding and Bonding System Saves Ohio Dispatch Center Thousands of Dollars

July 13, 2016


Copper Protection System Ensures Uptime for Emergency Response Center

NEW YORK, NY— Improper electrical grounding and bonding can cause expensive equipment failures that can take vital emergency communication systems offline. In 2013, a bad lightning strike caused the Public Safety Complex in Medina, Ohio to lose two-thirds of its dispatch center and experience over $20,000 worth of equipment damages.

“We didn’t realize the extent of our problem because we had, in the past, paid good money to electrical ‘experts’ who represented themselves as professionals, and who had worked on our system before,” said Patrick J. Berarducci the chief of police for Medina, Ohio.

The safety complex, which includes fire, police and emergency dispatch, also serves neighboring municipalities of Medina Township and Montville, and as an ambulance service for the Cleveland Clinic, bringing the complex’s total population base to nearly 50,000.

A site audit by PowerEdge Technologies, Inc. discovered that the tower, computer and radio racks and communications cables were never properly bonded and grounded. When the strike hit the tower, the surge traveled from the tower to the IT and communications racks and onward through the system. It blew out two radios, computers in dispatch and records and damaged other electrical appliances.

Installing the new system included replacing the existing tower grounding with three new copper-clad 10-feet x ¾-inch rods, all of which were bonded to the legs of the tower and to a new bare copper 4/0 copper ring ground that was installed around the tower. This was then connected to a revamped grounding system in the headquarters building.

As a result of the corrections and subsequent improvements to the complex’s grounding system, energy from any future lightning strike to the tower would be directed to earth via the low resistance/impedance ring ground and electrodes at the tower base and not through paths that included sensitive electronic equipment. The complex’s computers, servers and critically important communications equipment were thereby taken out of danger.

Since the grounding system was upgraded, there have been no service interruptions at the public safety complex. To learn more about the lightning protection system upgrade at the Medina, Ohio center, please review the case study provided.