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Holiday Preparations for Your Church Facility

3143732812_fbde159809To churches and their members, the holidays mean special services, celebrating in good company and enjoying meals together. With winter weather and increased attendance comes the risk of slip, trip and fall accidents. The proper preparation of church facilities can aid in the prevention of injuries and allow for the holidays to be enjoyed without any interruptions.

Snow and Ice Removal

Snow, ice, sleet, and hail can pose a real threat of slip and fall injury. To help keep your church attendees safe, consider putting the following measures in place:

  • Have a designated staff member monitor the weather daily during the winter months, and be prepared to coordinate snow and ice removal operations.
  • Have a staff member periodically check the parking lot, sidewalks, outdoor stairs, and entryways during the day for possible danger areas that may need to be addressed.
  • Remove snow after one inch or more has fallen or if there are icy conditions.
  • Apply de-icing products to walkways.
  • Isolate danger areas, such as large patches of ice, by closing them to the public or warning with cones or signs.
  • Watch for icy spots that arise from water runoff from roofs and downspouts that have re-frozen.
  • Give outdoor stairs particular attention and treatment.
  • Monitor indoor mats in entryways for build up of snow and ice melt. When the mats become water logged, replace them with a dry mat.

Lighting

With the colder weather, churchgoers will be wearing bulky coats and heavy boots. Their movement may be slightly restrained, and their footing may be different from what they are used to. Together with shorter days, it becomes more important to ensure building pathways are well-lit so attendees have an easily navigable path to their destination. Consider the following items as you review the lighting in and around your facility:

Lighting is measured in foot candles. At a minimum, 10 foot candles should be mandatory for all lighting. Higher levels of illumination may be needed in high use areas.

Lighting is measured in foot candles. At a minimum, 10 foot candles should be mandatory for all lighting. Higher levels of illumination may be needed in high use areas.

Lighting should be provided for walkways, parking lots, stairways, hallways and basements. Look for shadows that may be created and adjust lighting accordingly.

In stairwells, provide a light switch at the top and the bottom of the stairs whenever feasible.

Inspect all lighting on a weekly basis, and replace light fixtures or bulbs that do not work.

Exits

Lastly, in the event of an emergency, it is important exits be properly marked with exit signs that are properly illuminated. Emergency lighting should be installed so that a power failure during an emergency will not prevent a quick and orderly egress from the building. Pathways to emergency exits should remain free from any obstacles or clutter. Also, ushers and children’s ministry workers should be trained on evacuating the building in the event of an emergency, with particular attention paid to the evacuation of the elderly, disabled, and young children and infants.

Photo Credit: Lawrence OP via Compfight cc

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