The Weatherperson Isn’t Always Right

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Preparing Your Place of Worship & Congregation for Adverse Weather

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Have you ever walked into a place on a cloudy day, and when you come out, it’s pouring rain? The weather tends to have a mind of its own, no matter what the weatherperson might tell you. Adverse weather can happen at any time and in any place, including during a church service. A winter morning can turn into a winter wonderland before the service is over, and a summer storm might cause flash flooding. The good news however, is most weather conditions can be planned for and risk can be mitigated in a timely manner with preparation.

Snow and ice can be dangerous for not only those walking into and out of your place of worship, but also for those driving to attend or leave after service. Prepare your place of worship for snow and ice by having salt or deicer readily available to deice steps and ramps. If snow and ice are a yearly occurrence for your climate, consider investing in a snow blower, or an attachment to plow the parking lot and drive way to your church. Having caution signs in your parking areas and steps help reduce liability. Since your security team plays a vital role in the safety of your congregation and visitors, use them to help individuals safely make it inside your building without falling.
Flash flooding can be difficult to prepare for, but it typically comes with warning. If your buildings are in low-lying areas that tend to see water damage from heavy storms, prepare for flash flooding by obtaining sandbags to place around doors and low-lying windows, redirecting storm water away from your building. If there are areas of concern for your building, secure it and redirect any foot traffic around the area you assume to be affected.
Many areas in the country are faced with the threat of tornadoes, which can come with little to no warning. Prepare your place of worship for tornadoes by getting a national weather alert radio and placing it somewhere that a volunteer or security team member will hear. These radios sound an alert noise for dangerous weather and alerts in your immediate area. Have a safe and debris free place that the congregation can shelter in, including a place for children. Ensure it is clearly marked with a sign that states “shelter in place.”
If earthquakes are common for your area, hold earthquake drills every six months. These should take place during a service, while the congregation is present, including children. Ensure there are clearly marked classrooms or closets that are free from debris, including large or heavy furniture, and are used as a shelter in place area. Anchor any large furniture or objects such as bookshelves to the wall to reduce the risk of damage during an earthquake. Earthquakes can come with no warning, so preparation and drills are the keys to reducing injury and damage.

 

Adverse weather is likely to happen at some point to your place of worship, but preparation can help mitigate the risks and potentially save lives. Use these tips to prepare for dangerous weather at your church. How else do you plan for and mitigate risk associated with temperamental weather in your area? Let us know in the comments below!

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