A Season for Severe Weather
In every season of the year, there is typically at least one natural disaster that could pose a threat to your organization. As the temperatures begin the rise and we prepare for the summer months ahead, now is the time to begin thinking about severe weather, including thunderstorms, tornadoes and the damage they cause.
Before and During Thunderstorms
There are numerous steps a church can take prior to a storm that could minimize damage. Consider the following:
- Install lightning rods to new buildings. Older buildings should be inspected to determine if a lightning rod should be installed.
- Routinely trim dead branches off trees.
- Secure outdoor objects that can blow in strong winds.
- Keep a battery-powered radio available with extra batteries.
- Have a professional electrician install a commercial surge protector. Additionally, see that all electrical circuits are properly grounded.
- Clean gutters every spring and fall to prevent drainage problems.
Make sure all individuals on church property are inside the building during a storm. If lightning is striking, do not handle electrical equipment and turn off electrical appliances, such as air conditioners. Avoid water faucets and sinks, as metal pipes can transmit electricity.
Tornadoes can cause intense destruction within a matter of minutes. It is crucial your organization is prepared to handle a tornado, especially if you have individuals in your building when a storm strikes. For all severe weather situations, it is a good idea to designate a Safety and Security Team to develop response plans for tornadoes and other severe weather, as well as communicate and train any staff or volunteers necessary to properly execute the response plan. The plan should include information on monitoring weather reports, communication methods and designated safe locations in the building. For more information on tornado safety, view the Preparing for and Responding to Tornadoes on SafeChurch.com.
Damage Following a Storm
As you review your property for damage, use caution but respond quickly in order to prevent further loss. Look for items, such as loose or hanging limbs from trees, loose or missing shingles, leaks around windows or ceilings, and debris or obstacles that create tripping hazards.
Weather of all kinds can create significant problems for your organization. As we close in on the summer months, make sure your church is taking steps to prepare for thunderstorms and the possibility of tornadoes. For more information, view the Emergency Preparedness fact sheets under the Resources tab on SafeChurch.com.
© 2019 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved.This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.