Every year, at least one big storm blows through all of the parks we support. There can be a lot of things for Park Personnel to get done to prepare for imposing bad weather. Nearly all of those things have to do with protecting sites or equipment that are exposed to the elements, but one very important thing tends to get overlooked. Your cash registers that sit safely inside your entrance stations and visitor centers can be very susceptible to these storms because big storms tend to bring lightning with them.
Now we all know that electrical equipment plus a bolt of lightning isn't a great combo, but how can it possibly reach the registers inside? The average lightning bolt carries about 5 Billion Joules of electrical power which really likes to travel along power cables. A lightning strike that is even in the proximity of cabling can find the wiring and travel along it. That is why we plug all of the register equipment into a special surge suppressor. These power strips are designed to self destruct (on the inside) if a power surge of a certain size tries to pass through it.
The surge suppressors can protect your equipment, but you have to replace it every time lightning strikes. The best way to prevent your equipment being destroyed is to unplug the surge suppressor and phone lines from the wall before the storm hits. We understand that it can be hard to do this when you have visitors coming through, but when a heavy lightning storm starts, most people probably won't be trying to get into a National Park.
A little bit of planning ahead can save a lot of money in surge suppressors, or worse, brand new registers.