Installation of lightning rods, by a reputable Lightning Protection Corporation, provides a path for lightning current to reach the ground safely. Although they do not decrease the risk of lightning striking your home, they do provide a direct path to the ground, preventing damage to your home from fires, explosions and electrical surges that can result from lightning strikes. There are still lightning rods and they work, but not every home has them.
Rather than traveling through the building, the current can flow to the ground, which protects buildings against lightning strikes. If direct lightning strikes a building, the current in the conductor may be so high that it melts or vaporizes the metal, but the damage to the building will be limited.
Testing for lightning protection is what it is. Your trusted Lightning Protection Corporation should visually inspect and test all lightning conductors and earth grounding installations during a Lightning Protection Test (LPT). The resistance to ground of each earth grounding point is tested electronically.
You should always hire a Lightning Protection Corporation to install and maintain your lightning protection system. These systems require a great deal of knowledge and skills to operate and be effective. You can install lightning conductors and lightning rods on your roof or install free standing lightning conductors for that roof to prevent lightning from striking it. Your preferred Lightning Protection Corporation can install this system to protect your building from lightning strikes.
A downlead or down conductor is an element of the main conductor system that brings the lightning from the roof to the ground. It may consist of cable conductors, or a qualified continuous steel framework of 3/16″ or greater thickness, or a combination thereof.
Lightning rods (and the accompanying protection system) are designed to protect a house or building against lightning strikes and, specifically, lightning-triggered fires.