Beacon Insurance has provided education on fire prevention in churches in past blogs. But what are some first things you should do in case of a church fire? Lightning and an increase in seasonal bonfires, candles and the like all make churches more vulnerable to fires. In fact, one of our very own churches here in Northwest Florida suffered a complete loss this past summer after a lightning strike led to a fire.
First Baptist Church of Milligan
First Baptist Church of Milligan is a 100 member church located near Baker, Florida. This thriving rural church held services and all business activities in original buildings built in 1864. First Baptist Church of Milligan welcomed a new pastor, Rev. Charles Smith, in 2017 and has enjoyed a lively and connected ministry in this charming community. On July 9th of this past summer, Reverand Smith left the grounds around 3 PM on the cusp of one of our usual bad summer storm warnings. It wasn’t but a few minutes after arriving home that he was alerted to a church fire. Lightning had struck the church roof and sparked a fire. Although immediate attention was given by the fire department, the church suffered a total loss.
Steps Beyond Fire Prevention
You’ve taken all the steps to prevent a church fire. Unfortunately, natural events like storms and lightning are out of our control. To make matters worse, it’s very likely that a church will be empty during a storm. If lightning strikes and leads to fire, it can more easily spread.
The following extra measures will help simplify the process after a fire.
1. Complete a Church Inventory & Update it Regularly.
If your church suffers a fire, part of the claims process will be accounting for total insurable church inventory. “Total Insurable Inventory” includes everything that would be included in a claim. A fire is a crisis and it will be very difficult to account for all inventory from memory while recovering from this crisis. Beacon has developed a Church Inventory Worksheet you can download and print here. Take the time now to complete a thorough church inventory. Once complete, scan an electronic copy and keep several hard copies both on and off-campus as well because should the church suffer a total loss, the on-campus hard copies will be lost. Update your inventory regularly as changes are made to the inventory, such as replacing furniture.
2. Enroll and Engage in GuideOne’s SafeChurch Portal.
GuideOne commercial customers have a free, value-added service in the SafeChurch Portal. Designate a member of your Safety Team to register your church and explore this valuable resource for steps after a fire. Download and print practical resources to keep on hand that you can reference right away in case of a fire. You can learn more about the SafeChurch Portal here.
3. Keep Beacon Insurance Information Easily Accessible.
It’s hard to imagine your church catching fire and losing everything. Beacon Insurance is here to help and be a resource. Keep our information close by in both electronic and hard copies, on and off-campus and let us be one of the first calls you make in case of fire.
At Beacon Insurance Agency, our difference is in our expertise. Our mission is to partner with churches, private Christian schools and non-profit organizations to provide coverage for today’s most common threats.