2 weeks ago ·
by Len Webb ·
Vacation Bible School is an annual event for most churches. It is a week of fun activities and learning for our churches youngest members and visitors. Guidelines for VBS safety should be at the top of the list when planning this annual event. From back ground checks to food preparation and First Aid; these are major areas (but not limited to) that should have guidelines and procedures to follow to ensure VBS safety.
Staff and Volunteers
For the protection of the children attending your VBS, it is important to utilize proper background checks for all employees and volunteers. Start early when recruiting a set of core volunteers so that to include a full back ground check, a completed application, a face to face interview, and to make sure references have been checked. Once the screening process is complete the volunteer will receive their event assignment.
Train VBS workers in church safety policies and what to do if an emergency arises.
Core team members should know how to report an accident, the Rule of 2’s (Follow the Rule of 2’s. Ensure a child is never alone with an adult.), where the First Aid Kits are located, who to call in case of an emergency, and which children have allergies.
Ideally, you should have one adult for every four to eight children.
Daily check-in and check-out system
Parents are looking for an orderly and safe plan to protect their children from falling in to the wrong hands. Whether you use pen and paper, or an electronic check-in solution, it is very important to insure that each child is only released to those authorized to pick them up. This can be very challenging during VBS, and using an electronic solution is preferable.
Ask parents to fill out an allergy/medical release form when they register.
Always tell parents what foods you will be serving, and be prepared to offer different foods to the children with allergies.
Try to avoid foods that are most associated with allergic reactions such as peanuts, tree nuts, and dairy products.
In the event of a reaction, the first step is to recognize the symptoms. The symptoms include, hives, eczema, redness of skin around the eyes, itchy mouth or ear canal, vomiting, diarrhea or stomach pain, swelling of lips, tongue or throat obstructing airways, shortness of breath or loss of consciousness.
When responding to an allergic reaction, you should contact authorities for proper medical attention.
Certain individuals may carry an EpiPen for use in the event of an allergic reaction. It is a good idea to educate employees and volunteers on the use of an EpiPen in the event of an allergic reaction.
Accidents and Emergencies
Before your church’s VBS begins, make sure your First Aid Kit is well-stocked and up-to-date.
Taking the time to create a plan of action with specific steps will help prevent turning a minor incident into a crisis.
In case of an accident or emergency, make sure you have a process outlined to report and follow up with those involved. Keep accurate records and incident photos in a secure location.
Keep walkways and high traffic areas free of cords. Cords should be held down and visibly marked with colored tape. Careful placement of speakers and microphones should also be a priority.
Mark and protect all stakes and ropes for outdoor tents.
Depressions and holes in grassy areas should be filled.
Make sure all equipment for outdoor activities has been inspected and is free from defects.
Monitor weather reports and make alternative plans in the event of inclement weather.
Secure Your Facility
Make sure all VBS activities are in highly visible areas. Maintain the correct child and volunteer ratio for each age group. Make sure the children are aware of where they can and cannot go. Rope off outside areas that are off limits.
1 month ago ·
by Len Webb ·
15 Passenger Van Safety Tips
In recent studies, the NHTSA(National Highway Safety Administration) reported that 15 passenger vans have a rollover risk that increases dramatically as the number of occupants increases from fewer than five to more than ten. We will address nine different safety precautions in relation to 15 passenger van safety and they are as follows:
Inspect the tires and check tire pressure before each use. The tires need to be inflated properly and the tread should not be worn down. Excessive ware or tires that are not inflated properly can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle or lead to a possible rollover. A placard on the driver’s side B-pillar or the owner’s manual lists what the manufacturer recommends for tire size and pressure.
Avoid using old spares when replacing worn tires. All tires, even unused tires, weaken with age. When purchasing used 15 passenger vans, you should replace the spare tire even if it looks new.
15 passenger vans should only be operated by trained and experienced drivers. The driver should have a valid driver’s license for the state in which they live. 15 passenger van drivers need additional training because they handle differently than cars, especially at maximum capacity.
The driver should be well rested and attentive at all times. The use of cell phones by the driver while the van is in motion should be prohibited. Drive time should not exceed eight hours per 24-hour period.
A 15 passenger van is wider and longer than a car, therefor, it requires more space to maneuver. It requires more reliance on side-view mirrors when changing lanes.
Drive at a safe speed based on driving conditions. The driver should never exceed the posted speed limit. Slow down if the roads are wet or icy. 15-passenger vans do not respond well to abrupt steering maneuvers and require additional breaking time.
Never allow more than 15 people to ride in a 15-passenger van. When the van is not full, passengers should sit in seats that are in front of the rear axle.
Cargo should be placed forward of the rear axle. Placing loads on the roof should be avoided. See the vehicle owner’s manual for maximum weight of passengers and cargo and avoid overloading the van.
The driver and all passengers should wear seatbelts. Inspect seat belts regularly and replace any missing, broken or damaged belts and/or buckles. An unrestrained 15 passenger van occupant involved in a single-vehicle crash is approximately three times as likely to be killed as a restrained occupant.
While 15 passenger vans are convenient, drivers and passengers must use caution to minimize the risks associated with these vehicles. NHTSA research has shown that 15 passenger vans have a rollover risk that increases dramatically as the number of occupants increases from fewer than five to more than ten. In fact, 15 passenger vans with 10 or more occupants had a rollover rate in single-vehicle crashes that is nearly three times the rate of those that had fewer than five occupants.
Church Law and Tax 15 Passenger Van Safety Rules
3 months ago ·
by Len Webb ·
Preparing your church for tornado season.
March is Severe Weather Awareness Month. This is the beginning of tornado season; Churches are not immune from their destruction. This is a good time to establish a plan for your church in the event of a tornado.
Every Church should have a solid plan and clearly labeled tornado safety locations.
In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide, the cause of 80 fatalities and 1500 injuries.
Tornadoes can happen any time of year but the peak time is March through May and most likely between 3 and 9 pm but can happen at any hour.
One of the most important things you can do to prevent injury or death in the event of a tornado is to be aware of present and future weather conditions for that day and have a plan of action. Most deaths and injuries occur when people are unaware and uninformed.
A tornado watch means tornadoes are possible in your area. Watch the sky and listen to your radio or T.V. for weather updates. A tornado warning means a tornado has been detected on the radar or one has been spotted on the ground. Take immediate action and take cover.
What to do BEFORE the storm hits:
- Develop a plan for your place of worship and know where your designated safe places are before the season begins. Have clearly marked signs to let the congregation know the shortest ways to get there.
- Know your county and keep a map of your city with labeled roads and highways to follow the storm movement from weather bulletins.
- Have frequent drills.
- Have a NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm system and a battery back-up to receive warnings. Listen to radio and television for information. Have a person in the church who will monitor approaching weather and advise of severe weather (Deacon, Church member, or usher).
- Establish a warning system with your congregation. When severe weather is approaching, it is important to have a signal to take cover.
- Move out of large areas such as the sanctuary or fellowship halls. The safest areas are hallways, small interior rooms, bathrooms, closets, under tables, but preferably basement areas. Large rooms with poorly supported roofs, such as gymnasiums and auditoriums, are not considered safe places in the event of a tornado.
- After evacuating the sanctuary, the pastor should consider hymn singing to provide quiet assurance in the midst of this stressful moment until danger has passed.
- If an outdoor activity is planned, listen to the latest forecast and be prepared to take necessary action if threatening weather is possible.
- Put together an emergency kit for your church which should include a battery powered am/fm radio, flashlights, batteries, bottled water, blankets, and first-aid items in a sealed container.
- Have a designated place to meet after the disaster.
- Watch children closely and comfort them.
4 months ago ·
by Len Webb ·
Church Fire Prevention
Church fire prevention should be a year-round effort and there are specific things that you should do at least once every year, without fail. To make your Church fire prevention program the most effective, it needs to be an ongoing effort. For instance, make a quick tour of your buildings interior and exterior. Your facility can decrease the chances that an arsonist will strike by scheduling time this month to go through each item on this list.
Why Churches and Religious Organizations Are Vulnerable to Arson
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, arson is the leading cause of fires in the United States, resulting in more than $1 billion in property loss each year. In one recent year, the USFA reported that approximately 30,500 intentional structural fires occurred. Specifically for churches, fires account for significant losses. An average of 1,300 church fires are reported each year, causing $38 million in property loss. Arson comprises 25 percent of church fires.
- Buildings are often unoccupied.
- Activity schedules are predictable.
- Security systems are often lacking.
- Arsonists, vandals and other criminals may target churches because of their beliefs.
Reducing the Risk of Arson
To help reduce the risk of arson, consider the following precautionary measures:
Properly store a ladder outside the building using a good quality lock and chain that is securely attached to the buildings concrete foundation.
Don’t have a dumpster that is overflowing and too close to the building. If vandals were to intentionally set fire to the dumpster, there is a high likelihood that it would spread to the building.
- Illuminate exterior buildings, doors and parking lots from sunset to sunrise.
- Consider the installation of motion-activated lighting near doors and windows.
- Keep doors and windows locked when the building is unoccupied.
- Trim shrubs and tree limbs around windows and doors to eliminate potential hiding places for arsonists and criminals.
- Ladders should not be stored outside the building at the end of the day. Instead, secure ladders and tools in a locked shed/outbuilding or inside the building.
- Keep track of and limit the disbursement of building keys. Consider installation of a keyless electronic entry system.
- Make sure that exterior doors are of solid core (not hollow) construction and are outfitted with quality deadbolt locks and, if hinged on the outside, tamper-proof hinges.
- Use wire-mesh glass in windows for additional protection from break-ins.
- Keep the property free from boxes, leaves, trash, wood and other potentially combustible debris.
- Consider installing video security cameras at entrances and other key areas.
- Park church vehicles in different locations on the property throughout the week to vary routine.
- Trash containers should be kept as far away as possible from the building.
- Consider using timers for lights and/or radios during evening hours.
- Make sure that flammable liquids are stored in a U.L. listed fire cabinet away from any heat sources, such as heating equipment.
- If possible, install a central station monitored security and fire detection system. Also consider a fire sprinkler suppression system.
- Make sure that smoke and heat detectors are operational and that fire extinguishers are in place and have been regularly serviced.
- Restrict access to areas containing valuable or combustible materials by locking interior doors.
Arson Prevention Checklist
- Ask neighbors to alert police if they see anything suspicious on church property.
- Develop positive relationships with local law enforcement and invite them to patrol the property during the overnight hours.
- Establish a “Church Watch” program in which members volunteer to drive through the property at various times throughout the week.
Checklists can be an effective tool to help prevent a fire in your church. The following checklists will help you determine how well your facility is safeguarded to discourage unauthorized entry and encourage early fire detection.
© 2017 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved.
7 months ago ·
by Len Webb ·
Thanksgiving is a time to get together not only with family but a time for fellowship in our churches as well. There are many Places of Worship that host a Thanksgiving meal. Food kitchen safety are very important when the church is the host for the Thanksgiving gathering.
Food Kitchen Safety
- Store & Prepare Thanksgiving Food Safely
- Refrigerate or freeze perishable food within 2 hours of shopping or preparing; 1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F.
- Find separate preparation areas in the work space for raw and cooked food.
- Never place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board that held raw food.
- Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and work surfaces frequently with hot, soapy water.
- Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling pets.
Cook Food to Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures — It’s the only way to tell if harmful bacteria are destroyed!
- Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, casseroles, and other food. Check temperature in several places to be sure food is cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature.
- Never partially cook food for finishing later because you increase the risk of bacterial growth.
Transport Food Safely — Keep hot food HOT. Keep cold food COLD.
- Keep hot food at or above 140 °F. Wrap well and place in an insulated container.
- Keep cold food at or below 40 °F. Place in a cooler with a cold source such as ice or frozen gel packs.
Need to Reheat? Food must be hot and steamy for serving. Just “warmed up” is not good enough.
- Use the stove, oven, or microwave to reheat food to 165 °F. Bring sauces, soups, and gravies to a boil.
Keep Food Out of the “Danger Zone” (40-140 °F).
- Keep hot food hot – at or above 140 °F. Place cooked food in chafing dishes, preheated steam tables, warming trays, and/or slow cookers.
- Keep cold food cold — at or below 40 °F. Place food in containers on ice.
When In Doubt, Throw it Out!
- Discard food left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours; 1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F.
- Place leftovers in shallow containers. Refrigerate or freeze immediately.
Be Food Safe! Prepare with Care
- CLEAN. Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces often.
- SEPARATE. Don’t cross-contaminate.
- COOK. Use a food thermometer.
- CHILL. Chill food promptly.
8 months ago ·
by Len Webb ·
Stay Safe at Fall Festival
The Fall Festival can be fun but food poisoning, burns, and broken bones are not. That is why it is important to take some steps to protect yourselves and other guests from the unexpected risks during this kind of special outreach events. Therefore, it is important for you to know the safety guide once you joined in Fall Festival. Here are the following guidelines that you must be aware before going to event.
Safety Guide in Fall Festival
When you are at a fall festival and enjoying the events, you must drink a lot of water and take a break.
- Keep an eye for your things and family
Even though you are out for a long weekend, you can have a safe and better experience in looking out for each other. You must stick together. If there are times that, you and your family are in separate places, set for a designated meeting place. You must also be aware if where is the emergency medical and the festival security tens just in case of the unexpected circumstances. Immediately notify the festival staff if you see anyone that it’s acting inappropriately.
- Drive slowly, follow the traffic pattern, and watch for the pedestrians.
The fall festival has a thousand people specifically families with their young children. Therefore, you must always remember to follow the traffic pattern and pedestrians so that you can prevent from accident and other unexpected circumstances in the street while you are driving particularly during the fall festival.
- Be aware on the caution signs and restricted places.
Ensure that the children now the warning signs and know how to stay away from the restricted areas. You must be alert in the areas that are not marked off and an adult must supervise the attractions, including the bounce house when it is in use.
- If the wagon does not look safe outside, do not get in.
The wagons of Fall Festival are staple but this can lead of accident in inappropriate management. Do not get in wagon if:
- The lights are dim and completely out
- If the body of gain is damaged and temporarily fixed with a duct tape
- The tires are lack, flat, and low.
- The wagons harnesses and latches are not functional
- More than the wagon is being pulled at one time
- When there are many people inside the wagon
Securing your safety is the best thing to do while you are enjoying. There are times that unexpected circumstances suddenly occur. Therefore, it is important that you are aware on that safety guide before going to Fall Festival. There are no harm in enjoying and attending events, but for the sake of your safety, you must know and understand that guidelines.
9 months ago ·
by Len Webb ·
How to Prepare for Hurricane Season
Hurricane season is considered to be a nerve-cracking time for almost everyone. This natural disaster will not just affect those that are in the path but also for those friends and relatives that might worry about those affected people. However, it would offer less damage or none once you prepare hurricane season. Preparedness is important not just in dealing with the physical challenges of hurricane but it is also important to have a plan that might help you safe during the said disaster.
There are actually ways on how you could be prepared before the hurricane comes. You could consider some of the tips below in order not to face the said storm unprepared:
- Checking insurance coverage as for making sure it would reflect the current situation of your home. It might be great if you avail church insurance since this religious insurance would be of great help in protecting the needs of their members. You might as well add flood insurance as well as coverage for additional living expenses once your home is totally damaged by the storm.
- Aside from considering coverage like of church insurance, doing home inventory might as well be considered. It could save you time as well as make filing a claim a lot easier. Just make sure that you don’t forget anything. You might also document the contents of the home and keep receipts of valuable items as well as consider separate coverage for these.
- You could also protect your property if you are to consider installing items like hurricane shutters, head and foot bolts and hurricane straps or clips. You should also have safe room that could withstand the flying debris and high winds.
- It is also part of being prepared if you are to stock emergency supply kit along with basic survival items. You might have supplies of water and also ready to eat and non-perishable foods. Make sure to have adequate supply of them for you might not know how long the hurricane to affect you.
- As for the purpose of reducing stress it would be great to consider establishing evacuation plan. Be with the entire family and never forget bringing all the important documents needed in certain cases.
- You must not as well consider silly risks such as running back into your destroyed home or refusing to evacuate once ordered because you are too worried about material possessions. But remember that it is easy to replace things but not people.
Those are just among the tips that you might consider in order for you to be considered as safe from hurricane or any natural calamities as well. Being prepared especially being covered by insurance like church insurance could ease at least a bit of stress you might feel due to the damages being provided by the strong storm. Aside from your property and personal belongings, you must as well take care of yourself during hurricane. If you are ready you will not also worry.
10 months ago ·
by Len Webb ·
Simple and Easy Tips You Can Use
Patience, determination and hard work of an individual could bring great reward. With hard work, you will be able to buy stuff that you need and those who want to give it to their family. Every time you earn a lot, you are able to buy expensive jewelry, a house, car, appliances and other sort of material stuff you want to. Apart from the material stuff you achieve along with hard work, the most crucial things is that you are able to offer your children their basic needs such as a peaceful home, education and clothing. However, what if an incident occurs and your home is all caught up in flames and all the stuff you have earned are burned into ashes? Wouldn’t you feel all your hard work and efforts are useless and wasted?
You are aware that the most unexpected and life threating accidents that normally happen in our life is fire accident. Fire is said to be the one of the top accidents, which cause death to lots of people in a year. This occurs unexpectedly and occurs in residential areas. In addition, fire could burn all things inside a home if not acted right away. This scenario could be very discouraging to many homeowners, as they need to begin again from scratch in order to build a new home again. Thus, why let a fire waste all of your memorable and priceless home when you could put in place a fire prevention plan and prevent it from happening?
- Set up a good fire exit plan
You can talk to your family on where, how and what you must do in case a fire occur. It would be better if you have two exits in each room or if this is not the case have at least two main exits in each level of your home.
- Install smoke alarms
You could buy smoke alarm and install it to each level of your home. This tool is very helpful to prevent fire from spreading through detecting smoke ahead of time. You can consider putting fire sprinklers as well in your ceiling.
- Avoid utilizing candles
If possible, you should stop using candles. It would be better if you buy candleholder, which hold candles in place or make use of flashlights to see your way.
- Keep lighters and matches away, do not store gasoline as well
If you really don’t need gasoline in your house, it is suggested if you will remove it inside your home. Lighters, matches and other objects, which could start a fire, must be kept away from kids to avoid any accidents.
- Buy a fire extinguisher
Did you know that fire extinguisher is one of the most important tools you must have in your home? Thus, it would be beneficial if you will take time to buy one for your safety.
Fire could easily prevented if you will just follow these essential fire prevention hacks. This could help minimize your worries and could make your family and your home secured and safe.
11 months ago ·
by Len Webb ·
Church Vandalism Prevention
Church Vandalism happens any time. Throwing stones through the stained glasses, graffiti scrawling on playgrounds and buildings and breaking into the buildings to damage the items inside are only few of the known vandals that occur. And even churches are not anymore safe from this assault.
Here are some of the suggestions and tips to avoid vandalism and can add to the church insurance from being the victim.
- Shed some Light Near the PropertyYou can also keep even on the nights the interior lights. It will make an illusion that there is someone occupying the building.
- Install an adequate lighting on the exterior part of the church like the parking lot. Burned-out bulbs should be replaced with new ones to. Also place these lights on high locations, so that you can prevent the culprits from attempting to disable them.
- As a church insurance, store the expensive equipment like laptops in a room that is securely locked. To hide all the valuables from a view, close the window curtains or the blinds. For your small valuables and cash, you can use a safe.
- When there are already graffiti drawings on the church, you must clean them out immediately. A well-maintained and clean area is less attractive for the criminals. You can also trim the trees and long grasses around so that you can reduce possible hiding places.
- Consider having Surveillance Camera
- Putting security cameras add up to the feeling of church insurance. If you have installed and working cameras you can have video recordings to share to the police when there was a crime that happened. By having them, you can catch the culprit faster than not having one.
- Secure your Church Vehicles
- Secure them by having the windows roll and activate door locks. Do not leave them in a plain view. Criminals can only vandal your vehicles if they can access them easily.
- Secure and lock all the windows and entry doors
- Locking all the passages in your building is like the best church vandalism prevention you can do. Make sure that you have deadbolts for all the entry doors and they are used when no one is there to occupy the place.
- Ask for Community SupportBut also remember that you should never ask them to provide guard services overnight for this can bring them potential harm.
- Ask the local police in your community to include the church in their patrol visits. You can also remind the neighborhood and church members to be alert for activities that are quite suspicious. Encourage them to make observations as detailed as possible but never to confront anyone. Advise them to report to the police instead.
- You can first evaluate the benefits in the church insurance of having an installed alarm system that is being monitored through a security company or a central station. These companies can help you in deciding as to which kind of alarm system is more applicable to the church.
1 year ago ·
by Len Webb ·
How to Prepare for a Tornado Season?
Each year dangerous floods, storms and tornadoes damage lots of properties and nature. A huge amount of homes face damage due to the storm in the sense they become unsafe or no longer provide shelter. Some are further left out due to the higher cost of repair.
Ways to Prepare for a Tornado Seasons
• Tornadoes could cause serious destruction in just a matter of seconds. It is essential that your organization is ready to handle a storm or tornado, particularly when there are people in your home or buildings when tornado strikes.
• For serious weather condition, it is a smart idea to allocate a security and safety team to develop a response plan for storm and other serious weather condition and communicate and educate any volunteers or staff needed to properly do the response plan.
• The plan must contain information on tracking weather reports, communication schemes and allocated safe locations in your home or buildings.
• Tornadoes frequently strike fast and with no or little warning-therefore it is essential to be ready for a storm attack at any time. Keep on top of varying weather patterns. Seeing the weather channel on television or listening to radio will allow you track when tornado condition is present.
• Have a storm shelter ready at all time and ensure you and your family knows where it is. Ensure your kid where to go in case of a tornado that happens while they are in school, a baby sitters house, at a daycare center, etc.
• Assess your tornado plan on a frequent basis and ensure all and sundry is aware of the protocol. Always has a disaster preparedness kit. Put together canned foods, bottled water, first aid kit, flashlight and other important thing that you could take with you into your tornado shelter. You just have to keep these stuffs in a storage container or a duffer bag, so you can easily get them and if you need them.
• Protect your property, talk to your home insurance provider and ensure you have the right coverage when your home is harmed by a windstorm or tornado.
• The best thing about home insurance coverage is that it will give you pecuniary help when your home or property is damaged seriously. You will get resources for the reconstruction of your home. In case the insurance policy covers the furniture and other belongings inside the house, you will receive a specific amount of money that based on the assessment of the objects.
In most particular cases, the underwriters will provide you financial assistance to take another home for rent while your home is being restored. Because of this, you must be well aware of the terms and conditions of the company who is offering financial assistance.
You must ready yourself, your family and your property from possible or effects of a tornado. To protect your belongings or your most expensive asset, you must consider getting a home insurance. There are a lot of insurance providers out there that offer low premium. You better check them out!
www.ready.gov/tornadoes, https://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/tornado/preparedness.html, http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4340177_Tornado.pdf