Physical barriers protect people and property
You’re midsentence delivering the Sunday sermon when suddenly a car accidentally crashes through your sanctuary doors. As it comes to a screeching halt against the sound booth, you’re relieved to find no injuries. This may sound like a scene from a movie, but it’s happened many times, leading to some serious injuries. Even more common is someone walking through the parking lot after service and getting hit by a car. Consider implementing the following risk management practices and make controlling traffic a priority to protect your people and property from serious injury.
Installing physical barriers might seem costly, burdensome, and unnecessary, but protecting your property and people can take a variety of forms. Several objects can be used to strengthen the exterior of your building. The most common include bollards, planters, boulders, and benches. Each has its uses, which we’ll cover below.
Bollards are short, vertical poles that protect entrances and walkways from vehicles. They are secured into the ground and can stop vehicles. When most people think of bollards, they immediately picture bright yellow poles cluttering their main entrances. While this used to be common practice, materials and design have come a long way in recent years, and there are a variety of options to complement the needs of any building. Bollards can be used to protect main entrances, sidewalks, children’s play areas, and utility services around your building. They are generally low cost and effective. Bollards can be permanent or removable, which is helpful around areas that may need vehicle access for loading or unloading equipment. “If you don’t want to use removable bollards, you can stagger them to allow access,” said Tim Cool, Chief Solutions Officer with Smart Church Solutions. To stagger bollards, you install two rows, protecting your facility, while still allowing enough space to weave between the protective barrier.
If the idea of placing steel bollards around your building isn’t appealing, there are other options. Concrete planters and benches are two options. “A concrete planter can be as effective as a pole bollard, but it is much more attractive,” said Cool. Make sure your planters are spaced close enough together to prevent a vehicle from crashing through. Additionally, boulders are an attractive option but are typically reserved for areas farther away from entrances that may be separated by landscaping.
While a physical barrier can stop a vehicle from crashing into your building, the best place to control traffic is your parking lot. The goal is to keep vehicle and pedestrian traffic separated. “Whether you’re a church of 100 or 20,000, parking lot teams are imperative,” said Cool. A parking lot ministry is a way for people to serve the church. They can control vehicle traffic by encouraging drivers to fill every spot in an orderly way. This keeps drivers from cutting through parking spots and protects pedestrians by keeping the traffic flow predictable. Ask your local police department to help you provide proper training for your team. Parking lot team members are a great way to greet guests, helping them feel welcomed. They are also the first to spot a suspicious person in the parking lot. “Parking lot teams are a small, free step that can make a big impact,” said Cool.
Posted September 23, 2020
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