Thompson: An Industry Leader

100 Years

During our 100 years of operation, Thompson has long been aware that industry growth cannot be achieved by any single company alone.

As a result, Thompson has been an early and continuous member of two industry groups that have continued to develop the lightning protection industry to its current level of activity and accomplishment.

Lightning Protection Institite

The first of these is the Lightning Protection Institute, which was formed in 1958 in Chicago, Illinois, by Thompson and two other manufacturers as an association to promote the use of proper code approved lightning protection with the ultimate intent of furthering public safety through a wider understanding of lightning protection and the installation of complete and proper systems.

This association has grown over the last 52 years along with the industry itself. The Lightning Protection Institute fulfills the crucial role of testing and certifying the competence of actual system installers. The LPI also has an installation standard of its own and certification of is own that involves the installer, the manufacturer, the design engineer and owner in assuring that an LPI Certified System is complete, code compliant and will function for years to protect a building, its contents and, most importantly, its occupants.

United Lightning Protection Association

Thompson is also an early member of an industry association known as the United Lightning Protection Association, which was formed in 1936 by a small group of system installation firms in upstate New York and surrounding New England states. Thompson joined this group shortly thereafter and has been a member ever since. This group has now grown to more than 100 member firms located nationwide. Their primary interest lies in working with the LPI in support of the entire industry to educate and protect the public.

In addition to these industry efforts, Thompson has long been a participant in several organizations responsible for developing and enforcing the codes and standards that are used to design, install and test and inspect completed systems.

Underwriters Laboratories

The first of these is Underwriters Laboratories. This is the same U.L. whose approval sticker is seen on a wide variety of electrical and other products worldwide. U.L. has two standards relative to lightning protection systems. UL96 is a material compliance standard used by Thompson Lightning Protection and other manufacturers to ensure that the components that are used to complete an overall system are properly sized and constructed. U.L. inspectors are in our plant frequently to verify the acceptance of Thompson products to carry the UL label. The second U.L. standard is UL96A which sets for the criteria for properly installing the listed components in the field to form a complete system. This standard is created with a good deal of input from the Lightning Protection industry. Thompson has been a member of U.L.’s STP (Standards Technical Panel) for many years and has continually offered its input on component and system design, construction and installation.

National Fire Protection Association

There is another code authority that Thompson has worked with for decades that is the most significant of all. This is the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This national standards writing organization provides such documents as the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) and the over all life safety and fire codes that are used in virtually all new construction nationwide. This organization also publishes a separate standard for lightning protection systems (NFPA 780) which is the most widely used and accepted standard for lightning protection in the U.S. This standard is under constant review and revision on a 3 or 4 year cycle. This document has been published since 1904. Thompson has bee completely involved in hundreds of meetings in support of this effort since the 1960’s.

Finally, in recent years there has bee an effort to write a world wide standard for lightning protection by the International Electrotechnical Commission (I.E.C.). This work, as could be expected, is a slow and painstaking process. Thompson Lightning Protection is an active participant in the work through its membership in Technical Committee TC81, which is charged with creating this document. It is still an ongoing process.

It is clear from the above efforts and commitments that Thompson has a long term and broader vision than its day to day commercial operations as to what constitutes success and accomplishment in the lightning protection industry striving to provide better and more complete protection from lightning for our customers and all of the world.