Inspect, check and protect your religious entity all year long
"Preparation, I have often said, is rightly two-thirds of any venture." - Amelia Earhart
Since the arrival of the fall season means that winter is coming, your religious entity should start preparing to help reduce the damage that the impending weather may cause. In 2016 alone, there were 15 weather and climate events with losses exceeding $1 billion. Your place of worship may be very susceptible to becoming part of this number, but don’t worry—there are many ways to develop a strong maintenance plan and brave the cold with confidence.
Inspect your heating systems
In order to make sure your members can enjoy warm and cozy services during the holidays, you should have your heating systems inspected during the fall. It’s been awhile since the system has had to run constantly, so carrying out a “test run” is imperative. Outside contractors can check to make sure all of the equipment is functioning properly before it’s too cold and ultimately, too late. Make sure to inspect all caulking and weather stripping around windows or doors so that cold weather doesn’t have an easy way to sneak into your service.
If your organization doesn’t have people there every day, it can be easy for inside temperatures to drop, causing pipes to freeze and crack. You want to ensure your building temperature doesn’t drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, a standard set by the National Fire Protection Association. Additionally, make sure to winterize your lawn irrigation systems early and educate your staff on how to shut off the water system if your pipes do burst.
Check your roofing
With any experience of shoveling large piles of snow in the winter comes the true understanding and appreciation of just how heavy snow can be. Disaster Safety estimates that, “Two feet of old snow and two feet of new snow could weigh as much as 60 pounds per square foot of roof space, which is beyond the typical snow load capacity of most roofs.”
If your roof has a low slope, it may be more difficult for snow to run off of it. Be prepared for this to happen by having a snow rake with a long extension or the contact information for a snow removal contractor on hand before the winter season starts. Also, it’s beneficial to clean the gutters and downspouts of your place of worship to make sure that no materials would obstruct snow from melting off of your roof. Lastly, check for cracks or holes in your roof that could let cold temperatures or precipitation inside your property.
Protect the member experience
The main building of your property is not the only place vulnerable to winter weather. Think about the experience of each of your members when they come to your services, starting with the moment they turn into the parking lot. Make sure that the lot is plowed and salted. Trim tree branches above where cars park that may fall if heavy ice or snow accumulates. Seal cracks in walkways and pavement that could expand and worsen if water freezes within them. Additionally, make sure you have staff ready to shovel and lay salt on the sidewalks and entrances when winter weather strikes.
You can never be too prepared
It may seem like you’re rushing into winter right after summer has ended, but the fall season gives you ample time to prepare for when cold weather hits. Thoroughly inspecting your heating system, roof, pipes and outside areas should never be excluded from your maintenance plan. By having tools and contacts on hand to help when you need it, you can approach the winter with more confidence. Take Amelia Earhart’s advice; implementing sufficient preparation can go a long way.
Glatfelter Risk Team
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