All places of worship need adequate fire insurance. Cover this important detail and you are in the best position to address such a debilitating crisis. Not having enough fire insurance coverage costs churches millions in damages each year. The first step to prepare your church in case of fire is to maintain the most comprehensive coverage for your property. Next, take action steps to ensure you avoid preventable risks.
According to GuideOne, fire is one of the most common claims received. Even with church fire insurance, damage from fire and smoke often exceeds coverage. This leaves churches to pick up the pieces in the aftermath. Has your church expanded? Relocated? Bought or sold buildings? Ensure your fire coverage keeps pace with such changes.
At Beacon Insurance, the difference is in our expertise. Today we bring you valuable education on preventing and addressing church fires.
How Church Fires Happen
Outside of religious organizations, the layman may wonder how church fires happen. There are multiple contributing risk factors. Take a look at the below statistics on church fires.
Fire in a House of Worship: A Snapshot
- Arson is the leading cause of church fires. Half of all church fires in the last 20 years were intentional. Intentional fires are usually set in acts of violence or to cover up a crime.
- Many church fires are preventable with proper preparation. For example, buildings over 30 years old pose a high risk that is easily mediated with an inspection.
- Along the Florida Gulf Coast, lightning strikes are a leading source of church fires. Steeples and crosses atop the structures and large A/V systems that easily overheat, make churches vulnerable.
- Fires from faulty electrical equipment cause millions of dollars in damages every year.
How to Prepare Your Church for a Fire
There are many things you can do to ensure your church is ready for a fire. We have developed a printable checklist for churches to use to cover vital fire safety details.
2 Ways to Prevent Fires Outside the Church: Lightning and Electrical
- Churches take a precarious position in the line of lightning. Many are the highest structures on any city block with tall steeples and crosses. Here on the Florida Gulf Coast, fires from lightning strikes happen most often during June, July and August, alongside summer storms. Invest in a lightning rod to minimize your risk of a lightning strike and ensuing fire.
- Although most electrical runs inside the buildings there may be electrical wiring and circuit breakers outside, too. Electrical oversights are one of the most commonly overlooked items that cause fires. There are many fire safety details to cover with electrical ranging from outlet size to plug placement.
Print this Checklist for More Information on Electrical Risks.
2 Ways to Prevent Fires Inside the Church: Kitchen and Outlets
- Kitchen fires are common and preventable. Ensure all appliances of any size are current and in working order. Do not overload outlets even if using a surge protector.
- Secure all outlets with child safety covers if your church runs a daycare, Mom’s Day Out or otherwise regularly has small children in attendance.
2 Ways to Address a Fire Once it Starts: Tools and a Plan
- Maintain current fire extinguishers that are in good working order. Train multiple staff on how to use them; do not wait until a fire to get familiar with these safety precautions.
- Have a safety plan in place and review it with key participants every quarter. Be sure to change the plan when making other changes, such as building renovations which affect exits.
Whether you are sure you need additional church fire coverage or you want to make sure you have enough, contact the church insurance experts at Beacon Insurance today for a policy review.