There are many things that you can do on your own when it comes to fire prevention. But, it’s important to know when to call in a professional.
Faulty heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and faulty electrical systems are two of the top causes of fire. Ensuring that these two elements are taken care of on a regular basis will drastically reduce the risk of fire to your ministry.
The Pros of Using a Professional
The easiest way to reduce fire risk is to enlist professional assistance when maintaining these systems. Well-meaning volunteers that know a little about HVAC systems or electricity can do more harm than good.
Use a licensed contractor to inspect, clean, and maintain your HVAC system.
Hire a qualified electrician to inspect your electrical system and wiring—especially if you have an older building or have added significantly to your electrical needs.
Though both of these efforts will cost you in maintenance, they could potentially save you in the long run.
Other Professionals That Can Help
For Brotherhood Mutual policyholders, the risk control department offers risk management services free of charge. A representative from the risk control team will work with you to develop strategies to manage the risks of fire.
“At Brotherhood Mutual, our risk control management and staff is committed to teaming with our clients in their efforts to reduce the loss of lives and property through effective management of fire risk,” says Brock Bell, senior manager of risk control and estimating for Brotherhood Mutual.
Another option is to call your local fire inspector. However, when you enlist help from the fire department, be prepared to take action to correct any violations.
A local fire department can also help create or review evacuation and fire safety plans. “An inspector will walk through your building with you and let you know what things may need to be corrected or maintained,” says Assistant Fire Chief James Murua of the Fort Wayne Fire Department in Indiana. He says that another benefit of inviting the fire department for a visit is that it will help them learn your building layout and structure. "That helps us out quite a bit to be prepared, should you need us."
Use Professionals for These Items, Too
Fire alarm systems
Yearly fire extinguisher maintenance
Lightning and surge protection
Your local fire department, an architect, or fire prevention engineer can help determine the type, number, and locations of smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.