Churches are particularly vulnerable to fire damage because they’re often unoccupied for long periods of time. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, fire strikes about 1,300 churches annually in the United States, causing $38 million in damage. Moreover, there are indirect costs that are impossible to measure. Many of these losses can be reduced or prevented with effective fire prevention and evacuation plans.
Arson is the leading cause of church fires, followed by mechanical failures. Other common causes include candles, cooking equipment, extension cords, and office equipment.
Limit Arson Exposure
Prevent Mechanical Failure
To enhance detection and suppression, invest in the following equipment:
Don’t wait until the fire alarm goes off to realize what steps you need to take to protect your congregation—have a well-designed, comprehensive, and practiced evacuation plan in place.
Ask the pros. Invite firefighters or paramedics to tour your building so that they can offer tips and suggestions on your plan and become familiar with your facility.
Think it through. Identify all the possible ways people can get out of your building, noting which routes may be inaccessible to the elderly or disabled. Consider buying wagons or sturdy cribs on wheels to help evacuate the nursery.
Assign responsibilities. Clearly define who’s responsible for carrying out each part of the evacuation. For example, certain people should be assigned to notify emergency responders and ensure that the pre-designated assembly area is safe.
Conduct ongoing training. After you’ve developed your plan, train all staff and volunteers on the proper procedures to follow.
Hold fire drills. Conduct drills at your busiest times to identify problems in your evacuation plan that could be prevented and prepare people for the real thing.
Evaluate the plan. After holding a drill, determine whether the plan was effective.
Provide information. Make sure every member of your congregation knows about your emergency procedures through announcements, specific discussions, church bulletins, visitor packets, and handouts for parents.
Thank you for your interest in Brotherhood Mutual. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible.
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