Beyond seasonal maintenance, regular safety inspections are a necessity in keeping your ministry’s facilities up to date and your members out of harm’s way. An excellent way to start the year is by conducting an inspection of all your facilities to ensure you begin the year safely. Proactively take care of any safety issues you discover rather than waiting for issues to present themselves.
As you conduct inspections focus your attention on hazards and exposures that could be a potential danger in causing an accident leading to injury, loss of life, and loss of property. There are some core areas of inspection parameters that help create a safer environment for your facility. Below we will address some of the more important ones.
Church and School InspectionsHere are a few of the areas Adventist Risk Management, Inc. (ARM) specialists review when conducting a safety inspection:
Hallways and Evacuation Routes: This includes planning and displaying evacuation routes from the building in case of an emergency. All institutions should practice evacuation drills at regular intervals. Well-displayed maps should also show the direction of evacuation throughout the building. Document the dates of your drills.
Ensure that all corridors and verandah areas are kept free from any storage or tripping hazards. Evacuation routes should have free and adequate egress to help occupants move out of the building in case of an emergency.
Lighting and Exits: Make sure there are emergency lights in all public areas of the building and lighted exit signs at all exit doors, that are in compliance with local laws. All exit doors should have panic hardware installed which open the doors to the direction people should exit.
Fire Extinguishers: Each facility should have an adequate number of fire extinguishers. The correct type of fire extinguishers should be installed throughout the building in compliance with local laws. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) regulations require one extinguisher to be located every 75 feet, on each level or floor of your facility. These fire extinguishers are to be inspected annually and tagged by an authorized agency.
Stairs: All stairways should have handrails to minimize trip and fall accidents. It is ideal for the stair noses or the edge of the step to have slip-free treads.
Security Measures: Consider the installation of a closed-circuit TV (CCTV) monitoring system throughout the facility, recording traffic and movement. Post proper signage concerning the use of recording equipment on the premises. Assign security personnel to monitor the premises.
Parking: Adequate parking, with reserved slots for disabled attendees, should always be provided. Always display signs signaling the flow of vehicular traffic, as well as speed limits. Periphery lights and lights at the parking lot will be an added safety feature.
For more information on these inspections, read ARM’s Church Inspection and School Inspection resources.
Camp Inspection: Camps often require a more complex safety inspection in comparison to schools and churches. The two primary areas for camp safety inspection include any activities conducted on site and on-site places of lodging. Since many camps have extensive acreage, it is crucial to have quality supervision implemented on a 24-hour basis throughout the campgrounds. Here are the safety factors an ARM inspection would include:
- Safety Officer and a safety program in place.
- Emergency evacuation plan created and displayed, including established meeting points.
- Smoke detectors and adequate fire extinguishers in all sleeping rooms and dormitories.
- Thoroughly planned and implemented quality supervision, which includes regular head counts of all campers.
- Kitchen and cafeteria area inspected for correct hygiene.
- Food preparation and serving per current health department regulations.
- Swimming and all water sports supervised by trained lifeguards.
- Horsemanship adequately monitored and all riding conducted under the care of a qualified and trained wrangler.
- Onsite medical services through a nurse or doctor available or on call on a 24-hour basis.
- All flammables and toxic chemicals safely stored in a secured area, away from sleeping quarters.
- Evening activities and bonfires conducted away from sleeping areas, with quality supervision and proper arrangements for extinguishing any accidental fires.