I think we can all understand why maintenance is important, right? Perhaps you have experienced a home or auto maintenance issue that resulted in an expensive repair. No one likes those types of surprises!I want to share with you the benefits of seasonal maintenance and how you can take advantage of the resources of Adventist Risk Management, Inc. (ARM) to build your seasonal maintenance plan. Asset Insights defines seasonal maintenance as “maintenance tasks that are most useful when carried out at particular times of the calendar year.”[i] How do we benefit from this program as a church or school?
In the early part of our marriage, my husband worked for the navy as a team lead in the submarine auxiliary division. His team was responsible for maintaining thousands of pieces of equipment that kept billion-dollar subs effortlessly churning through the world’s oceans. In addition to a huge financial investment in the equipment, the navy had to protect the thousands of crew members on board.
The navy needed to be certain its equipment would function flawlessly in both peacetime and wartime conditions. Using what the navy called the Planned Maintenance System, the equipment was inspected and repaired on a regular schedule. This systematic maintenance program helped ensure the equipment could operate efficiently and effectively under adverse conditions.
Our churches and schools do not face the same challenges as the military, but the principles of routine preventative maintenance are just as important for us. Proper maintenance can prevent unexpected, catastrophic system failures that could adversely affect our services and ability to do outreach to our communities.
In ARM’s commercial package policy and auto policy, maintenance is not a covered expense. This means damage due to poor maintenance may not be covered under your insurance policy. Accordingly, churches, schools, and other ministries should prioritize the planning, budgeting, and carrying out of regular preventative maintenance.
In a seasonal maintenance program, routine inspections, upkeep, and repairs are scheduled to align with the change of seasons. Cleaning out gutters and drain spouts before the rainy season or giving the boiler a tune-up before winter can prevent costly damage. Regular inspections also help prevent injuries that can be costly to the church and members alike.
For those regions that sometimes experience cold winter conditions, a seasonal maintenance plan can help you address key questions, such as:
- Have all radiators and air registers been cleaned?
- Have the crawl space and basement windows been closed and prepared for winter?
- Have the air conditioners been covered and secured?
- Has the boiler room been cleaned and cleared of debris?
- Have the propane gas equipment and pipes been cleaned and serviced?
- Have the furnace air filters been cleaned and/or replaced?
- Have the exterior water faucets been shut off?
- Is a winter snow removal contract in place?
Your church budget should be focused on ministry rather than sudden repairs that could have been prevented with seasonal maintenance. It’s also important to remember that the maintenance you do today impacts the future of the facility.
Seasonal maintenance is such an important part of responsible ministry that it has been included in the 2021 North American Risk Management Initiatives as part of the Safety Officer initiative. Safety officers are encouraged to regularly conduct self-inspections and perform, or at least ensure, a seasonal maintenance plan is in place at your church or school. They can also work with the church board to budget and plan for more extensive repairs that may be needed.
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of the 10 virgins—five foolish and five wise. Do not be foolish and get caught without a seasonal maintenance program. Be wise beyond measure so your facility can be used for as long as possible and avoid costly repairs and liabilities.
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