2020 NFPA 780 Standard - Current Edition
In purchasing digital access through a PDF or subscription service, you are purchasing a single-user license to access content only by the named account holder. Certain restrictions apply.

NFPA Members save an additional 10%.

Item #: NFPA_780
Price: $0.00
Digital Access with NFPA LiNK® Plans starting at $9.99/month
Standard Formats Available:

Handbook Formats Available:
Spanish Standard Formats Available:

  • Description

    Keep pace with the most current information and requirements for safer and more effective lightning protection system installations with NFPA 780, 2020 edition.

    NFPA 780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems, provides a comprehensive resource for safeguarding lives and property from fire and related dangers associated with lightning events.

    An industry benchmark document for lightning safety for over a century, NFPA 780 offers an in-depth oversight and thorough coverage of protection methods, devices, and safety challenges in lightning protection systems.

    Identify lightning hazards and provide appropriate protection for your building or facility.

    NFPA 780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems, delivers a flexible approach to providing applicable safety protocols for lightning hazards based on the use of the building or structure. The 2020 edition offers state-of-the-art provisions for installations, including on-site physical inspections of completed installations and periodic testing and inspections as required.

    From work requirements and informative annexes to illustrated figures and updated definitions, NFPA 780 provides an essential reference standard for facility managers, installers, inspectors, and AHJs.

    Primary changes in the new standard include:

    • Section 4.9, Conductors, has been revised to clarify general requirements for main conductors with an emphasis on one-way paths, dead ends, and when upward conductor paths are permitted.
    • Rewritten Chapter 7 acknowledges lightning electromagnetic pulse (LEMP) as a source of ignition in classified locations.
    • Edits in Chapter 11, Protection for Airfield Lighting Circuits, clarify the application of the requirements for lightning protection at airfields.
    • New Annex N, Considerations for Nonmetallic Tanks Containing Flammable Vapors or Liquids that Give Off Flammable Vapors, has been added to guide lightning protection of nonmetallic tanks containing combustible or flammable materials. (*Further study and public input regarding the protection of these tanks is necessary before requirements can be added to the body of the standard.)

    Be ready to perform every lightning protection system job to the latest standard.

    Having the most relevant information is critical to reducing lightning risks. Perform your job with confidence and accuracy with NFPA 780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems, 2020 edition.

    Are you 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.

  • NFPA PDF Products

    If you purchased a PDF, licensed PDFs can be accessed immediately. Instructions can be found in your order confirmation.

    Effective with the annual 2020 code cycle, NFPA® will no longer offer access to the PDF format as a choice for new editions of codes and standards, handbooks, or other reference titles. Existing PDFs will remain in-market and will still be accessible in our National Fire Codes® Subscription Service (NFCSS™). For more information about the different format options available to access essential code and standard content you need, click here.

  • Historical Editions

    Previous editions of NFPA® documents are available for sale. Please see applicable NFPA codes and standards product pages to confirm which editions are available for purchase. If you have any questions, contact NFPA Customer Support at 1-800-344-3555 or nfpa.org/customerservice.

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