The Lightning Awareness and Research Centre (LARC) was started by the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA) as an extension of its on-going activities in conducting awareness camps, training programmes and workshops on the lightning hazards and means of protecting life and property from it. Dr. V. Sasi Kumar, former Scientist, Centre for Earth Science Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, joined as Executive Director. We had got a group of engineers working behind the success of our organisation. LARC aims to be a single point source in India for all information and assistance for the public on issues related to lightning and to conduct research and case studies.
Lightning is a natural hazard that causes serious economic losses, personal injuries and deaths. Many of these damages occur due to lack of awareness or due to ignorance about lightning protection system and precautions to be taken during lightning activity. Lightning kills more people every year (more than 70) in Kerala than any natural disaster and injures more than 100 persons. The loss of property, such as trees and electronic equipment, is yet to be estimated. The situation in many other states in India and even in most other developing countries is similar or even worse. This happens because most people are not aware of what is lightning or how to protect oneself and one’s property from it. There exists no state or national agency to create awareness among people or help them protect themselves and their property from lightning.
The lack of information regarding lightning characteristics is one barrier that hinders the development of protection system. The other barrier is the poor knowledge among the engineering community on lightning and lightning protection systems. Due to improper information among public lots of fraudulent devices are being marketed and wrong information supplied in the name of lightning protection.
CISSA has been carrying out workshops and other awareness programmes on lightning hazard for some years now. LARC was started as a culmination of all that effort, and followed a workshop conducted in Thiruvananthapuram on May 30, 2014. Then we had conducted two day workshops in Trivandrum ( Nov 24th & 25th 2014), Ernakulam (Nov 26th & 27th 2014), Mangalore (Feb 24th & Feb 25th 2015) and Coimbatore (Feb 27th and 28th 2015). Recently LARC is conducting mass awareness programmes for public and teacher about lightning hazards throughout kerala. This programme is supported by Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment(KSCSTE). Already four districts Kozhikode (Jun 20th 2015) , Wayanad (Jun 21st 2015), Kannur (Aug 5th 2015) Kozhikode(Aug 6th 2015) has been completed. For teachers we are providing with trainers programme so that they can go to their schools and educate other teachers and students.
LARC aims to study lightning activity in India, promote awareness among people about lightning and how to remain safe during lightning and provide expert guidance on protecting property from damage or loss due to lightning. We had started telephone service exclusively to answer questions about lightning safety tips and selection of protection systems for buildings and equipment as per the Indian and International standards.
LARC aims to be a single point source in India for all information and help related to lightning.
- To disseminate information on lightning safety among public so that precious lives can be protected.
- To train various stake holders on latest technologies and protection systems for lightning safety.
- To ensure that lightning protection devices marketed in the country comply with the prescribed standards.
- Offer technical advice in the areas related to lightning.
- To encourage inclusion of lightning safety information in the curricula of schools, IEC activities of all concerned organisations.
- To cooperate and network with national and international organisation having similar objectives.
CISSA has the several leading experts on lightning to assist it in carrying out its activities.
- Prof. Nagabhushana: AICTE Emeritus Fellow, High Voltage Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Prof. Nagabhushana is one of the leading experts on the phenomenon of lightning in India. He retired as Professor and Chairman of Department of High Voltage Engineering in 2004. He is honored with fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineers, NRDC award for special Impulse generator to stimulate very steep impulse voltage, and former member IEEE.
- Prof. Chandima Gomes, BSc, PhD, CEng (UK), CPhys (UK): The Head of The Centre for Electromagnetics and Lightning Protection Research, Malaysia. He is also a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Researcher in Lightning Protection at Universiti Putra Malaysia. He has held Professorships in Physics, Meteorology and Engineering in several Universities in Asia and Asian campuses of USA and Australian Universities.
Dr. V. Sasi Kumar, Ph.D: Former Scientist, Centre for Earth Science Studies, Thiruvananthapuram. PhD in Atmospheric Electricity. His team was the first to measure atmospheric electrical parameteres from the ground upto 90Km altitude using ground based, vehicle borne, aircraft borne, balloon borne and rocket borne instruments in the country.
Dr. S. Murali Das, Ph.D.: former Scientist, Centre for Earth Science Studies, Thiruvananthapuram. PhD in Atmospheric Electricity. Conducted the first study of the frequency and distribution of lightning strikes in Kerala. Dr. Das is one of the top experts on lightning in India. Had executed three projects on lightning funded by Govt of india and Govt of Kerala. Involved in the development of instrumentation for monitoring cloud electric fields related to lightning.
Er. V. C. Vijayakumar, Head, Foam division, VSSC, Thiruvananthapuram
Er. Sujith S Kumar
Er. Gayathri G S
Er. Vimal P
Information: We provide all kinds of information about lightning, its distribution in time and space, how to remain safe during thunderstorms and how to protect your building and electrical/electronic equipment from damage or loss due to lightning.
We are building up a good collection of books and scholarly publications on lightning and related matters.
We run a free telephone service(0471 2722151) from 10 am to 5 pm to which anyone can call and ask about lightning and protection measures.
CISSA carried out lightning workshops in Kochi, Coimbatore, Chennai and Bengaluru in the year 2007. LARC was started as a culmination of all that effort, and followed a workshop conducted in Thiruvananthapuram on May 30, 2014. Then we had conducted two day workshops in Trivandrum( Nov 24th & 25th 2014), Ernakulam (Nov 26th & 27th 2014), Mangalore (Feb 24th & Feb 25th 2015) and Coimbatore (Feb 27th and 28th 2015). Recently LARC is conducting mass awareness programmes for public and teacher about lightning hazards throughout kerala. This programme is supported by Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment(KSCSTE). Already four districts Kozhikode (Jun 20th 2015) , Wayanad (Jun 21st 2015), Kannur (Aug 5th 2015) Kozhikode(Aug 6th 2015) has been completed. For teachers we are providing with trainers programme so that they can go to their schools and educate other teachers and students.
We plan to carry out an awareness campaign on lightning among all sections of society throughout Kerala in association with government and private agencies.
LARC is maintaining a good database related to accidents happening due to lightning in the state of Kerala, India. We are also analysing the frequency of lightning occurrence and lightning predominant areas within Kerala.The results will be published in academic journals and popular media.