It’s the start of a new year. A time where many set goals and determine a plan of action to achieve those goals. Perhaps your ministry is also setting goals for what it will accomplish in this new year. And to achieve those goals, we must be prepared for the work it will take to get there.Part of that preparation includes checking your equipment and facilities. If your church is planning a week of prayer, have you checked to see if the parking lot is well maintained and ready for high traffic? If your ministry has decided to volunteer at a local food bank, are the ministry-owned vehicles ready for travel? Preparing your facilities and equipment at the start of the year will help ensure your ministry is primed to run after its goals. Here are three ways you can prepare your ministry.
Safety OfficerDoes your church have a safety officer? If not, now is the time to select a church member to take that role. Having a safety officer in your church is a key part of inspecting your facilities at the start of the year and maintaining safety throughout the year.
Your safety officer should conduct an inspection of all facilities and equipment at the start of the year, and schedule additional inspections throughout the remainder of the year. He or she should also collaborate with the church board and safety committee in creating and updating the emergency plan, coordinating accident investigations with Adventist Risk Management, Inc. (ARM), and addressing risk management issues that may be present. For more information on the role and responsibilities of the safety officer, see ARM’s Safety Officer Description.
Seasonal MaintenanceIn addition to inspections, seasonal maintenance checks are an essential part of keeping your facilities and equipment safe for use. Every season brings with it changes in climate, natural storms, and significant weather events. As the seasons progress, your facilities may be affected by the fluctuations and need maintenance to remain a safe place to gather throughout the year.
ARM has created seasonal maintenance guides to help you keep your facilities safe for each season. These guides will walk you through maintenance checks for the interior of the buildings, equipment, exterior, and more. As you go through the guide, make a note of the items deemed unfit for use or in need of maintenance and set a date to address these items. Start with the Winter Maintenance Guide right here.
Emergency PlanningWhen the unexpected occurs, it is important to react quickly and safely to minimize injuries and damage. Practicing for emergencies through drills is an integral part of helping church members be prepared for the unexpected. Through practice, we learn how to react in a safe environment, and we have the opportunity to improve through each drill.
A key aspect of emergency planning is making sure your facilities are ready for the unexpected as well. Does your church have emergency lights set up in hallways in case of a power outage? Does your safety officer know where the natural gas, water, and electrical shut-off valves are located? Are the hallways and stairwells free of any obstacles? Do you have sufficient fire extinguishers for your building, and are they placed in easily accessible areas? When was the last time you replaced the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors?
All of these are essential parts of emergency planning and help prepare your facilities for emergency drills or real emergencies.