05 Feb Take Steps to Safeguard your Church during the Pandemic.
Due to COVID-19, many churches utilize virtual options for their worship services, and continue to postpone activities leaving many buildings being unoccupied for long periods of time. This presents a greater risk for property-related incidents, including theft, vandalism, water damage and fire, including arson. We’ve listed steps you can take to safeguard your church.
- Notify your local police and fire departments that your building is unoccupied and request regular patrols.
- Suspend mail and package delivery.
- Keep the exterior of your building well-lit, including your parking lot.
- Consider the installation of motion-activated lighting near doors and windows.
- Keep some interior lights on to deter loitering and vandalism.
- Ensure that your alarm system is active and working.
- Keep track of and limit the disbursement of building keys.
- External Security -Illuminate exterior and interior entrances. Arsonists, like burglars, fear light.
- Clear things like shrubbery that block that prevent the view of the building.
- Clean up -remove anything that could fuel fire for an arsonist.
- Internal Security -Install smoke alarms.
- Keep doors and windows locked.
- Properly store a ladder outside the building using a good quality lock and chain that is securely attached to the buildings concrete foundation.
- Don’t have a dumpster that is overflowing and too close to the building. If vandals were to intentionally set fire to the dumpster, there is a high likelihood that it would spread to the building.
- Establish an Arson Watch Program or for more tips visit FEMA’s website
- Shutting off the water to your business can reduce the chances of frozen or burst pipes. Be sure to turn off the water and open all faucets to drain pipes; flush all toilets once to drain the tanks, but not the bowl. If you drain your pipes, be sure to turn off your water heater first.
- Do not turn off the water supply to your building sprinkler system.
- Check your sump pump and ensure it is working properly.
- Unplug or disconnect non-essential electrical equipment such as computers, sound systems and cooking equipment.
- Keep the heat to your building at least 55 degrees to prevent water freezing in pipes.
- Set the building air conditioning to a maximum of 85 degrees to prevent mold and excess humidity.
- Remove all flammable materials from the building or store flammable liquids in a U.L. listed fire cabinet away from any heat sources, such as heating equipment.
- Assure that all combustibles are stored at least 36 inches away from electrical and mechanical equipment
- Ensure all automatic fire sprinkler and alarm systems are working properly.
- Remove all perishable food items from the building, including items in refrigerators.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends individuals not use playground equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Signs should be posted and read: Playground is closed in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- If fenced, all gates should be locked.
- If unfenced, playground equipment should be cordoned off with hazard/caution tape.
- Visit your building at least two times per week to help facilitate an easy transition once normal activities resume.
- During your visit, thoroughly examine the exterior of your building: check the roof, doors and property to ensure there is no damage or vandalism.
- Also examine the interior of your building to ensure all systems, including electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling, are in good working condition
© 2020 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisers in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.