Fire prevention must always be part of any property owner’s precautionary measures. This applies to church buildings as much as any other type of real estate property, especially with wooden furnishings, art pieces and artifacts, flowing pieces of tapestry, and candle racks often placed close to each other.
Here are seven safety tips to keep in mind to protect your church from fire-related damage:
- Invest in fire alarm and sprinkler systems
With the right tools, fires can be stopped before they can cause any serious damage. Make sure that a reliable fire alarm system is included in the equipment budget for your church. Look into systems that include sprinklers that automatically activate at the first sign of danger.
Learn as much as you can about the different types of alarm and sprinkler systems that you can install in your church. There are alarms that are designed to trigger when they detect smoke, while others are designed to detect high concentrations of carbon monoxide.
- Schedule regular maintenance
Investing in alarm systems does not end with your purchase and the installation of the devices. You should also plan for regular maintenance to ensure that all of these protective measures are in perfect working order if there ever comes a time when they will be needed.
In addition to having your alarm and sprinkler systems checked, schedule inspections for the building’s electrical wiring as well, especially if you are occupying a considerably older church building.
Your church building should also have an adequate supply of fire extinguishers. Make sure that these are checked periodically, as well.
- Invest in a reliable security system
While we generally trust in people’s good nature, it sometimes cannot be avoided that fires may be caused by individuals or groups with destructive intentions. This is why every church must also place adequate measures to prevent arson.
Installing an effective security system can help prevent arson. Go beyond security cameras that are intended only to record events as they happen. Motion-sensitive floodlights can be effective deterrents as they can catch perpetrators off-guard. Reinforcing your door locks, especially with modern, digital solutions, will also prevent unwelcome entry that can lead to property damage.
Being an integral part of the local community, you can also reach out to your local law enforcement for help. Ask for their assistance in the form of patrolling around your church whenever possible.
- Look into alternatives for traditional candles
While churches cannot fully do away with candles, there may be alternative solutions that you can consider. Electric candles can create a similar visual effect without using any flames. These might change the experience of traditional candle-lighting activities, but it may pay great dividends for your church building by ensuring a safe, fire-proof space.
If your church still prefers using traditional candles, make sure that fire extinguishers are kept close at hand wherever candles will be used.
- Store flammable substances a safe distance away from the church building
If your church property uses flammable materials for cleaning supplies or alternative power generation, make sure that these substances are stored in a safe place that is not vulnerable to open flames or potential electrical sparks. The property might benefit from maintaining a separate storage shed that is located a fair distance away from the main church building. This way, even if your storage area catches fire, you can quickly attend to it before it spreads to the church building.
- Install proper emergency signage
In addition to protecting the property, you must also make sure that the welfare of your church members is protected in the event of a fire. Install visible exit signs that are fitted with emergency lighting. Hang dedicated floor plans and fire safety diagrams around the church for your congregation’s reference as well.
- Invite the local fire department to hold regular information campaigns
Fire safety also involves knowing exactly what to do in the event of a fire. One of the greatest dangers, when a fire breaks out, is when people panic. If you can educate your congregation members on the proper ways to react during a fire, you will save a lot of lives.
For this effort, partner with your local fire department to conduct fire drills and information drive with your congregation. You can schedule these meetings and workshops at the end of a regularly scheduled service so that your church members are already there.