As we say goodbye to 2015, it’s time to begin preparing for your church’s safest year yet. There are a number of ways your organization can ensure its safety on a daily basis, and it can seem overwhelming to remember every detail. To help get you started, below is a list of 10 safety tips to remember when inspecting and evaluating your facility, both internally and externally.
- Maintain sidewalks to prevent slips and falls. Consider using walk-off mats upon entering the facility to reduce the risk of falls in poor weather.
- Adequately train all 15-passenger van drivers to reduce the number of accidents that may occur. Vans with 10 or more passengers have a 35.4 percent rollover rate.
- Form a safety and security team to prevent break-ins, theft and vandalism. This team can be made up of congregation members or staff, and has the goal of identifying risks at the church and formulating a risk management program.
- Annually inspect the facility’s playground to prevent injuries, and ensure it’s well-maintained with adequate surfacing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hospital emergency departments in the U.S. treat more than 200,000 children for playground-related injuries each year.
- Conduct background checks on all employees and volunteers in order to eliminate inappropriate candidates from working with children. Screening those who will work with children is one of the most effective ways to prevent sexual misconduct.
- Have your electrical system inspected to ensure it’s safe and functioning properly. A licensed contractor should conduct the inspection.
- Regularly clean all gutters and downspouts to safeguard against water damage. Water damage can be extremely costly to repair, so it’s important to regularly inspect your facility’s premises.
- Use proper food safety when cooking for a large number of people. Things to consider include food allergies, proper cooking temperatures and safe storage practices.
- Create a fully stocked emergency kit. Emergency can strike at any time. Make sure you are prepared with the proper necessities in your kit.
- Choose the correct fire extinguisher. There are four classes of fire extinguishers, each of which extinguishes specific types of fire. Ensure your church is prepared in case of an emergency.
By being aware and planning how your church would respond to a variety of emergency situations, the entire organization will be safer and more secure if a situation ever occurs. Research shows that more than half of all losses at church could have been prevented or minimized if the church would have taken the proper steps and precautions ahead of time to reduce the risks.