Updated: Jul 25
Wildfires are ravishing the State of California. According to the California State government officials, roughly 9,200 buildings and facilities have burned in 2020. But wildfires aren’t the only potential fire hazard for ministries across the connection. As we pray for those affected by these tragic events, you can help your ministry defend against a fire emergency.
Inspect your fire safety system
One of the most important resources in your defense against a fire emergency is the fire protection system for your facility. Sprinkler systems, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and other fire protection tools should be inspected and tested for proper functionality. Your local fire department may help you understand and schedule fire system testing. Be sure to properly document and store all inspection documentation in a secure location.
Check your facility’s electrical wiring The fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame is believed to have started because of an electrical fire, causing millions of dollars in damage. Help protect your ministry's facilities by having wiring and electrical systems inspected. This is particularly important for older buildings and buildings with “knob-and-tube” or other outdated wiring setups. Even for newer buildings, scheduling regular inspections can help you prevent fire due to faulty wiring. Also, visually inspect any power cables, extension cords, and surge protectors for visible corrosion and replace them when necessary.
Be proactive about your fire prevention Limit the opportunities for mistakes and accidents by keeping flammable products like gasoline and cleaning agents in clean and secure locations. Any type of fire accelerant should have a proper label and be kept away from any open flames. If your facility has a kitchen, keep your vent hoods and appliances clear of debris that could catch fire. Inspect all wall sockets in your kitchen area and wiring for erosion and repair or replace any faulty sockets.
Develop a fire emergency plan Hope for the best and prepare for the worst is the philosophy here. Your ministry leadership team should develop, test, and implement a fire emergency evacuation plan. This plan will help your ministry respond appropriately in an emergency. Supplement this plan with preplanned fire drills and ensure exits are properly labeled and clear. Review this plan yearly and consult local fire officials for updates and plan improvements. This is also a great opportunity to test your emergency notification system for your staff, volunteers, and members.
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.
Let's talk! Contact us at 484-654-3380 or at UMI@sovinsurance.com.
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.
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