It is difficult to believe but many parts of the United States have already had measurable snow fall. And its not even Thanksgiving! This early wintry mix is a good reminder to think about winter and church campus safety!
Most of us get excited when we see that first snow fall but it also makes us think about safety in the wet and slippery precipitation.
During this season of cold and snow, churches should take measures to ensure campus safety while preparing for weekend services or other church events.
Every church should have a goal of keeping its members, volunteers and employees safe.
Part of the preparation for this is being prepared for wintry, wet weather.
According to a Church Mutual Risk Reporter, “A slip-and-fall accident is one of the leading causes of unintentional injury and death in the United States. …….and the cause of death for 14,500 people each year, with adults 65 years of age and older accounting for nearly 80 percent of those deaths.”
This creates a concern for church leadership for two reasons.
The first is the obvious safety concern for church members, volunteers and employees.
But also because of the liability that comes with someone accidentally slipping and falling on campus.
No one wants to deal with the fallout of an injury that could have been prevented.
4 Ways to Prepare Your Church For Winter
1. Stock Up On Supplies
An unexpected snowstorm can catch a church by surprise resulting in not being prepared with adequate supplies.
Take some time to do a supply inventory and make sure there is plenty of salt, shovels, mops, floor mats and caution signs available for use.
Keep these supplies in an area with easy access and make sure those volunteers in key leadership positions know where to find them.
2. Have a Plan
Spend some time developing a plan for when the unexpected happens and train employees and volunteers how to respond.
The more people who are trained to help the more hands there will be to rush in and support safety efforts.
For example, if a volunteer sees members tracking snow into the lobby, train them to immediately find a mop to keep the floors dry and to put down extra floor mats to absorb the melting snow.
This should be done for any type of wet weather – snow, rain or ice.
3. Keep It Clear
Keep driveways, walkways and entrances clear from snow and ice. Black ice is the most difficult to see but can be the most dangerous to walk or drive on.
Have someone scheduled to arrive a little early to clear snow and ice from the path where members walk on campus.
Develop a volunteer team to help with this to make sure the campus is always safe to walk.
4. Fill Out An Incident Report
If someone does slip or fall, be sure someone fills out an incident report. This will ensure that you have all the needed information should you need to file a claim with your insurance company.
The sooner a report is filled out the easier it is to recollect all the details of the incident.
Make sure that whoever witnesses or is informed of an injury, follows up and gets this paperwork completed. Even if the person injured says they are fine, get the incident documented on paper.
Create a binder or keep a file with these reports because sometimes it is months later that a visitor will inform you that they were hurt on campus. These incident reports are very important.
Lastly, use your insurance company as a resource. They are the experts in this and can provide you with many great tips and tools to help keep your campus safe and free from slips and falls.