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Preventing a fire

What could be more devastating to your church than a fire? The consequences of a blaze can be overwhelming in terms of damage to property, injury and even potentially loss of life. It can also mean months of closure while repairs are carried out. Services will have to be held in other churches while outside user groups will be compelled to find alternative premises, or will close down due to lack of facilities. All in all, a devastating situation – but one that can be avoided in many cases.

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The causes of fires are numerous and varied but there are some very simple, practical things you can do to minimise the risk of a fire breaking out in your church. Making regular checks of the building’s electrical wiring and heating system is something the team at Methodist Insurance recommends strongly. Candles, and indeed any naked flames, are a clear risk and need to be treated with great care and handled accordingly. Guidance notes on handling candles are available on the Methodist Insurance website.

From our experience, we know that building and repair works in a church are one of the most common causes of fires. So-called hot works, in which builders are using welding equipment or a blow torch, are commonly associated with blazes and need to be managed effectively by your church. Again, guidance on how to work with contractors and ensure their work is safe is available.

Arson can be an issue, particularly for empty buildings – perhaps a church hall that has been closed temporarily. Ensuring the building is secure is vital: this prevents potential arsonists gaining entry. Removing any inflammable material being stored on the premises is also important as this minimises the amount of combustible material present. If one of your buildings suffers any form of minor vandalism, this is a warning to increase security as the vandals’ next step may be an attempt to start a fire.

One of your most important defences against fire is your fire-fighting equipment. Under current legislation, every church is required to have a minimum of two portable fire extinguishers – one filled with water and the other with carbon dioxide. However, the larger the church, the more equipment will be required.

Current regulation stipulates that churches must undertake a thorough risk assessment to identify any possible dangers and risks, as well as individuals who may be placed in jeopardy.

For more information call the team on 0345 606 1331

Methodist Insurance PLC (MIC) Reg. No. 6369. Registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ. Methodist Insurance PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, Firm Reference Number 136423.