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One school at a time: protecting children against lightning

Ugandan summer thunderstorms are practically a daily occurrence. The most dangerous by-product of these frequent storms is the approximately 70 lightning strikes per kilometre experienced within the country each year. Between 2012 and 2014, tragically more than 365 school children were killed due to lightning strikes.

In light of this, African Centres for Lightning and Electromagnetics Network (, a Pan-African Network of Centres dedicated to reducing lightning related deaths, injuries and property damage, put in place a project called “Lightning Kills! Save a Life Africa” aimed at providing lightning protection equipment (including lightning rods, down conductors and grounding) to help safeguard African schools from strikes.

The organisation has teamed up with experts within the field, such as lighting protection company DEHN + SÖHNE.

DEHN + SÖHNE subsidiary, DEHN Africa initially conducted a risk assessment, followed by the customised design plan of a lightning protection system (LPS) for a school based in Runyanya, Uganda. The school, which has a total of 700 pupils, is the first in the region to have rolled out a comprehensive LPS.

Within three days, DEHN Africa installed the external lightning protection system – including earthing systems, air-termination rods and down conductors – on each building within the school premises, including the chapel.Kirk Risch, sales and marketing director at DEHN Africa, says: “This is the first of four similar school projects to be rolled out by DEHN Africa within the next few weeks. We have already sponsored the shipping of the required products and have trained our partner in Uganda, UltraTec World. UltraTec World assisted with the installation at Runyaya, and will complete the LPS installations at the remaining three schools.

It is the serious intention of both DEHN + SÖHNE and DEHN Africa to prevent similar tragedies to the one that occurred in Western Uganda in 2011, where a number of children were seriously injured and even lost their lives during a thunderstorm. These projects present an ideal opportunity for us to give back to the communities in which we operate, helping to create a safer environment.”

The market leader DEHN, a globally active family-owned electrotechnical company with more than 1700 employees worldwide, offers innovative products and solutions as well as comprehensive services in the field of surge protection, lightning protection and safety equipment. DEHN focuses on the protection of system and building technology, the transportation, telecommunication and process sector, photovoltaic systems, wind turbines, etc. The company’s continuous growth is based on more than 100 years of tradition and experience as well as highest quality standards and consistent customer and market orientation throughout the world.