Lightning protection for Health Care Facilities: infrastructures to be protected against lightning strikes

Hospitals, retirement homes, research centers, laboratories, etc., are key infrastructures that must be protected against the risks caused by electrical storms. Buildings in which there is a high concentration of people, high-cost equipment and even patients connected to electrical systems that cannot suffer cuts or alterations in the electricity supply, require a comprehensive lightning protection system with the maximum guarantees of safety and quality.

2020 has been characterised by a series of events that have negatively impacted the healthcare sector, in many countries it has even been on the verge of collapse. Investment in infrastructure, services and facilities to support hospitals and laboratories is therefore more important than ever.

Agencies such as the UN have set out a number of targets to confront the pandemic, including increasing investment in primary healthcare infrastructure. This could help meet the Sustainable Development Goals for health and well-being.

Although most of the investment will come from public sources, the private sector also seems to be interested in financing such works at international level. The necessary investment in hospitals worldwide requires the provision of comprehensive lightning protection for this type of facility.

Impact consequences of lightning strikes on hospital functions

Lightning strikes can cause severe damage to hospital structures, power supplies and equipment if they are not effectively protected. The proper functioning of this equipment can be vital for some patients, as a lightning strike can disable electrical and electronic equipment that is essential to keep them alive at that moment. Even in less serious cases, the equipment is expensive and its destruction can also lead to a critical situation.

Each country has its own legislation, but there are also internationally recognised standards that provide guidelines for the correct design and installation of lightning protection systems.

Which type of lightning protection does a hospital need?

Hospital facilities must have comprehensive protection against lightning strikes.

For this purpose, they not only need external protection devices, such as lightning arresters, but also internal surge protection and earthing systems to minimise the effects of lightning strikes and ensure electrical safety.

Aplicaciones Tecnológicas has all the necessary elements for lightning protection in health care facilities:

Early Streamer Emission (ESE) Lightning rods

DAT CONTROLER® PLUS Lightning rods

DAT CONTROLER® PLUS from Aplicaciones Tecnológicas is a lightning rod with an Early Streamer Emission (ESE) device, i.e., it uses the atmospheric electric field as a power source and emits high voltage pulses to form the upward stroke at the right moment.

It is subjected to the highest quality controls, complying with all the requirements of the standards and, going even further, with insulation tests under rain and more current impulses, of a greater amplitude (up to 250kA) than those required by the standards, to guarantee its operation in the most adverse conditions.

DAT CONTROLER®REMOTE® lightning arrester

DAT CONTROLER® REMOTE is the latest contribution of Aplicaciones Tecnológicas to lightning protection. In addition to all the advantages of the DAT CONTROLER PLUS lightning conductors, the DAT CONTROLER REMOTE, using IoT technology, offers the possibility of checking the status of the lightning conductor at any time and from any location. This innovation makes it possible not only to monitor the lightning rod, but also to save time and maintenance costs for the installation.

Protection of power supply lines for hospitals

The external lightning protection system does not prevent the effects of distant or cloud-to-cloud lightning, nor the electromagnetic fields produced by the lightning current on its way from the lightning head to earth. Hospitals and their equipment must consequently be protected against permanent and transient surges. Aplicaciones Tecnológicas has a wide range of surge protectors (surge arresters) that fulfil this purpose:

Permanent surge arresters:

IGA TEST Series

Permanent surge arrester with integrated circuit breaker. They disconnect the line when they detect a permanent overvoltage (e.g. neutral failure), thus protecting downstream equipment. They can be used in combination with ATSUB-D type transient surge protectors.

The integrated circuit breaker is available for the usual current ratings: 6, 10, 16, 20, 25, 25, 32, 40, 50, 63, 80, 100 and 125 A.

ATCONTROL Series

Self-configurable permanent and transient surge arrester which can be retrofitted to other switching elements. It shunts transient overvoltages to earth and has a thermodynamic device for disconnection from the mains in the event of degradation and a transient overvoltage warning system.

Transient surge arresters:

ATSHIELD Series

Combined technological direct lightning current arrester capable of withstanding a current of 30kA per peak pole with 10/350 μs wave and with a residual voltage of less than 1.5kV.

ATCOVER Series

Protector in both common mode and differential mode. Capable of withstanding a current of 30kA per peak pole with 8/20 μs wave and with a residual voltage of less than 900 V. With visual warning and connection for remote warning.

ATVOLT Series

DC power supply line protector in modules with coordinated protection for one pair of wires. Capable of withstanding a current of 20kA per peak pole with 8/20μs wave and with a residual voltage of less than twice the rated voltage.

ATFREQ Series

They protect the coaxial lines of the antennas, without causing distortion or loss of signal power. Wide range of products with different connectors, capable of withstanding a current of 10kA per peak pole with 8/20 μs wave and with a residual voltage lower than that supported by the equipment to be protected.

The importance of proper earthing in health centres and hospitals

As far as lightning protection systems are concerned, it is also essential to ensure that the current is well dispersed in the earthing system. When lightning current is received, the accumulated energy causes large potential differences in the ground, which can even electrocute a person due to the potential difference between their feet.

In addition, a general earthing is indispensable in an electrical installation to ensure the safety of the system. A correct earth connection provides a safe path for currents and prevents these currents from finding unwanted paths that could cause damage, with serious consequences for people and equipment.

There are several methods for calculating earthing, depending on the characteristics of the installation, one method or another is applied. According to the result of the grounding calculation study, the characteristics of the grounding installation are established. For more information, we encourage you to consult our earthing study services through this link.

Our experience, technical expertise and regulatory knowledge, together with the most comprehensive range of products, enables us to provide the optimum lightning protection solution for healthcare facilities and hospitals. Consult our specialised lightning protection technicians here for your safety.