October is National Church Safety and Security Month

Blog Post created by lisabraxton Employee on Oct 1, 2019

Church Steeple

Places of worship are known for their open-door policy, welcoming all. They are also known for their rituals that often involve candles, and celebrations and socials that include food preparation. National Church Safety Month is a time for heightening awareness on preventing fires and injuries and reviewing ways to be secure in the worship setting.

Cooking Safety

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking or have someone else monitor what’s cooking if you have to step away.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire–oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains–away from the stovetop.
  • If you have a small grease fire and decide to fight the fire, smother the flames by sliding a lid on the pan and turning off the burner. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • If you have any doubts about fighting a small fire, just get out and have everyone else in the building evacuate. Call 9-1-1 from outdoors.

Candles Safety

  • Candles should be placed in a sturdy candle holder.
  • Handheld candles should not be passed from one person to another at any time.
  • Lit candles should not be placed in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire.
  • If a candle must burn continuously, enclose it in a glass container and place it in a sink, or on a metal tray, or in a deep basin filled with water.
  • Places of worship should be equipped with a fire detection and sprinkler system.

Safety in Public Assembly

Before you enter the building

  • Take a good look at it. Does it appear to be in a condition that makes you feel comfortable.
  • Have a communication plan, identifying a relative or friend to contact in case of emergency or if you become separated.
  • Pick a meeting place outside to meet family or friends in an emergency.

When you enter the building

  • Locate the exits.
  • Check for clear exit paths. Make sure aisles are wide enough and not blocked by chairs or other furnishings
  • React immediately if the fire alarm system sounds or you notice some other unusual disturbance, immediately exit the building in orderly fashion.

For more precautions for places of worship check out NFPA’s Safety in Places of Public Assembly, Religious Safety, and Cooking Safety tip sheets.