2020 NFPA 780 Standard - Current Edition
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  • Description

    Reduce lightning risks with NFPA 780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems, a comprehensive reference guide offering the latest oversight and understanding of protection methods, devices, and safety challenges in lightning protection systems. The 2020 edition includes revisions to clarify requirements, acknowledge new hazards, and provide guidance for lightning protection of nonmetallic tanks containing combustible or flammable materials.


    Interested in other editions of the NFPA 780? Use the drop down menu above to select the edition year you need.

  • Table of Contents (2020 Current Edition)

    NFPA® 780 Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems, 2020 Edition

    Chapter 1 Administration
    1.1 Scope.
    1.2 Purpose.
    1.3 Listed, Labeled, or Approved Components.
    1.4 Retroactivity.
    1.5 Mechanical Execution of Work.
    1.6 Maintenance.
    1.7 Periodic Inspection.
    1.8 Units of Measurement.
    Chapter 2 Referenced Publications
    2.1 General.
    2.2 NFPA Publications.
    2.3 Other Publications.
    2.4 References for Extracts in Mandatory Sections.
    Chapter 3 Definitions
    3.1 General.
    3.2 NFPA Official Definitions.
    3.3 General Definitions.
    Chapter 4 General Requirements
    4.1 General.
    4.2 Materials.
    4.3 Corrosion Protection.
    4.4 Mechanical Damage or Displacement.
    4.5 Use of Aluminum.
    4.6 Strike Termination Devices.
    4.7 Strike Termination Devices on Roofs.
    4.8 Zones of Protection.
    4.9 Conductors.
    4.10 Conductor Fasteners.
    4.11 Masonry Anchors.
    4.12 Connector Fittings.
    4.13 Grounding Electrodes.
    4.14 Common Bonding of Grounded Systems.
    4.15 Potential Equalization.
    4.16 Bonding of Metal Bodies.
    4.17 Metal Antenna Masts and Supports.
    4.18 Concealed Systems.
    4.19 Structural Metallic Systems.
    4.20 Surge Protection.
    Chapter 5 Protection for Miscellaneous Structures and Special Occupancies
    5.1 General.
    5.2 Masts, Spires, Flagpoles.
    5.3 Facilities That Handle or Process Combustible or Explosive Dust.
    5.4 Metal Towers and Tanks.
    5.5 Air-Inflated Structures.
    5.6 Concrete Tanks and Silos.
    5.7 Guyed Structures.
    5.8 Roof Top Helipads.
    5.9 Fabric Structures.
    Chapter 6 Protection for Heavy-Duty Stacks
    6.1 General.
    6.2 Materials.
    6.3 Strike Termination Devices.
    6.4 Conductors.
    6.5 Fasteners.
    6.6 Splices.
    6.7 Reinforced Concrete Stacks.
    6.8 Bonding of Metal Bodies.
    6.9 Grounding.
    6.10 Metal Stacks.
    6.11 Metal Guy Wires and Cables.
    Chapter 7 Protection for Structures Containing Flammable Vapors, Flammable Gases, or Liquids That Can Give Off Flammable Vapors
    7.1 Applicability.
    7.2 Principles of Protection.
    7.3 Protective Measures.
    7.4 Protection of Specific Classes of Structures.
    Chapter 8 Protection of Structures Housing Explosive Materials
    8.1 Application.
    8.2 General.
    8.3 Types of Lightning Protection.
    8.4 Grounding.
    8.5 Bonding.
    8.6 Surge Protection.
    8.7 Protection for Specific Facilities.
    8.8 Metallic Fences.
    8.9 Maintenance and Inspection Plan.
    8.10 Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance.
    Chapter 9 Protection for Wind Turbines
    9.1 General.
    9.2 Fundamental Principles of Protection.
    9.3 Protection of Electrical and Mechanical Control Systems.
    9.4 Grounding.
    Chapter 10 Protection for Watercraft
    10.1 General.
    10.2 Materials.
    10.3 Strike Termination.
    10.4 Conductors.
    10.5 Grounding.
    Chapter 11 Protection for Airfield Lighting Circuits
    11.1 General.
    11.2 Application.
    11.3 Purpose.
    11.4 Airfield Lighting Counterpoise System.
    Chapter 12 Protection for Solar Arrays
    12.1 General.
    12.2 Fundamental Principles of Protection.
    12.3 Strike Termination Devices.
    12.4 Protection of Electrical and Mechanical Systems.
    12.5 Grounding.
    Annex A Explanatory Material
    Annex B Principles of Lightning Protection
    Annex C Explanation of Bonding Principles
    Annex D Inspection and Maintenance of Lightning Protection Systems
    Annex E Ground Measurement Techniques
    Annex F Protection for Trees
    Annex G Protection for Picnic Grounds, Playgrounds, Ball Parks, and Other Open Places
    Annex H Protection for Livestock in Fields
    Annex I Protection for Parked Aircraft
    Annex J Protection of Smart Structures
    Annex K Guide to International Standards Dealing with the Selection of SPDs for Use on Photovoltaic (PV) Installations
    Annex L Lightning Risk Assessment
    Annex M Guide for Personal Safety from Lightning
    Annex N Considerations for Nonmetallic Tanks Containing Flammable Vapors or Liquids that Give Off Flammable Vapors
    Annex O Informational References
  • Prior Editions

    2017 Edition

    Major changes in the 2017 edition of NFPA 780 provide greater oversight and new understanding of lightning protection systems and lightning hazards.

    Reflecting the latest protection methods, devices, and safety challenges, the 2017 edition of NFPA 780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems is the new industry benchmark for protecting lives and property from fire and related dangers associated with lightning events.

    Determine the right protection scheme for different occupancies.

    Lightning hazards exist everywhere, but depending on the use of a building or structure, different lightning protection protocols exist. This edition of NFPA 780 helps you recognize hazards and provide appropriate protection.

    • Updated Section 5.3 pertaining to facilities that handle or process combustible or explosive dust now presents specific references to NFPA® standards addressing dust hazards, including NFPA 61, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities, NFPA 122, Standard for Fire Prevention and Control in Metal/Nonmetal Mining and Metal Mineral Processing Facilities, and NFPA 664, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities.
    • Rewritten Chapter 7 addresses protection for structures containing flammable vapors, flammable gases, or liquids that can give off flammable vapors.
    • New definitions include ground loop conductor, integral lightning protection system, mast-type lightning protection system, rated impulse withstand voltage level (withstand voltage) (u w), smart structure, solar array, and solar panel.

    Other changes assist facility managers, installers, inspectors, and AHJs:

    • Added requirements in this edition -- concerning physical on-site inspections of completed installations and periodic inspections or testing -- may be required at the discretion of the AHJ.
    • Updated figures illustrate air terminal protection for lower roof protection.
    • New requirements cover test and connection points for concrete-encased electrodes to enable periodic maintenance and testing of the ground system.
    • New bonding requirements address long horizontal metal bodies on roofs.
    • Numerous new requirements pertain to ungrounded metal bodies.
    • This edition includes re-evaluated and revised zero property line conditions.
    • New Annexes cover technologies used in state-of-the-art systems: Annex J, Protection of Smart Structures; and Annex K, Guide to International Standards Dealing with the Selection of SPDs for Use on Photovoltaic (PV) Installations.

    Make sure you're prepared to reduce lightning risks. Trust your jobs to the 2017 NFPA 780. (Softbound, 112 pp., 2017)


    Interested in other editions of the NFPA 780? Use the drop down menu above to select the edition year you need.

  • How the NFPA Handbooks Differ from Codes and Standards


    Ever wonder what the difference is between an NFPA® handbook and a code or standard? We’re glad you asked.

    NFPA codes and standards both provide requirements for achieving outcomes. Handbooks take a deeper dive, providing the full text of a code or standard as well as expert commentary and features such as graphics, decision trees, testing procedures, case studies, sample forms and checklists, and other helpful aids to give a better understanding of the reasoning behind the requirements and how to apply them.


    • A code or standard is a framework—a set of rules to follow with a goal to achieve a certain result
    • A handbook is a connector—linking requirements to application by helping you understand the reasoning behind a code or standard

    The simplest way to think about it is that codes and standards list the technical requirements while handbooks explain those requirements to clarify how to apply them.

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  • Also in NFPA 780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems