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Ask The Expert: What should I know about fire prevention?

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

The last thing anyone expects to happen is a fire. It’s a scary and dangerous event that can have a devastating impact on your church. While you can never eliminate the chances of a fire happening, you can take several steps to help prevent it.

Smoke alarms

As an essential part of any fire prevention plan, smoke alarms should be placed in every room to help increase the chances of detecting a fire as soon as possible. Test your smoke alarms regularly to make sure they’re still working properly. The most likely reason they do not work is because the batteries have died.

Fire extinguishers

If a fire does occur, fire extinguishers can help you contain the fire before it begins to spread and become out of control. Make sure you have them on-site and that they are easily accessible in the event of a fire. It is also a good idea to regularly inspect your fire extinguishers to help ensure they are working properly.


If you’re able to, consider having a sprinkler system installed within your church. They can be a big help when it comes to containing a fire and making sure it doesn’t get out of control quickly.

Fire escape plan

Develop a fire escape plan from each building for staff and visitors to follow if a fire occurs while your building is occupied. Be sure you regularly review the plan with your staff, so they’re properly trained on what to do, and place signs around your building to aid with evacuation.


With the holidays approaching, many churches may hold ceremonies that use candles. Make sure you’re keeping your church safe by limiting the number of real candles. Battery operated candles help minimize the risk of a fire and burns. If you must use real candles, be sure to remove tripping hazards around candles. Place them in low traffic areas, monitor the flames while in use, and keep a fire extinguisher nearby as well.


Electrical issues are one of the biggest causes of fires. It is a good idea to avoid connecting extension cords and power strips together as this can cause a potential fire hazard. If you have space heaters, make sure they have plenty of room and are turned off when not in use. If you have suspect or faulty wiring within your buildings, make sure you have it repaired as it can present a substantial fire hazard. Keeping these items in mind can help your church prevent fires and respond appropriately in an emergency. When you are covered by UMIP, we will be there when you need us. Churches have unique needs. As a part of the denomination, we understand the unique needs of United Methodist churches and their operations, which is reflected in our coverage options. Your ministry deserves outstanding insurance and UMIP works for you each day to help protect your church’s people, property, and finances.

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This content has been prepared by United Methodist Insurance Company (UMI) for informational purposes only. No article or document may accurately contemplate all possible scenarios or church resources. As such, this information is meant to foster discussion by the individual church and its members to develop a plan tailored to its own circumstances. UMI is providing this information with no warranties or guarantees of any kind and it should not be viewed as legal, financial, or other professional advice. All liability is expressly disclaimed. Any claim examples described herein are general in nature, may or may not be based on actual claims, and are for informational purposes only. Any coverage available for a claim is determined from the facts and circumstances of the claim as well as the terms and conditions of any applicable policy, including any exclusions or deductibles. In the event of a conflict with the content herein, the terms and conditions of any issued policy will control. Individual coverage may vary and may not be available in all states.

The commercial insurance coverages for United Methodist Insurance are sold and serviced directly or indirectly by Sovereign Insurance Agency (CA Lic. No. 0B01380) ("Sovereign") and underwritten by various available insurance markets. Sovereign pays United Methodist Insurance a royalty for the use of its intellectual property.


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