During the past week, the states of Texas and Arizona faced rapidly spreading wildfires. In Arizona, firefighters now battle the state's third-largest wildfire ever after attempts to contain it this past weekend failed, according to the Associated Press.
The unpredictability of a fire is what makes it so threatening, but there are ways to keep your church safe by creating procedures for both preventing and responding to a fire.
When preparing for wild, electrical, mechanical, or arson-related fires, start with this free checklist from Brotherhood Mutual.com—Annual Fire Safety Checklist. The checklist includes taking a building inventory once or twice a year for insurance purposes. One of your first priorities should be creating an evacuation plan.
Here are a few additional tips from, "Creating Your Plan," a ChurchSafety.com article to help you get started:
Creating Your Plan
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Conduct ongoing training. After you've developed your plan, train all staff and volunteers on the proper procedures to follow.
5. Hold fire drills. Conduct drills at your busiest times to identify preventable problems in your evacuation plan and prepare people for the real thing.
6. Evaluate the plan. After conducting a drill, determine whether the plan effectively worked.
7. 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.
If your church decides to work with the local fire department, consider asking them to train your staff on some basic fire-safety skills. Finally, stay informed about local fire news and safety. Consider following your state or local fire department on Twitter for continual tips and reminders.
This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."
Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.