Fire safety for Methodist churches

29 August 2019

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.

Inspections and assessments

Carrying out a fire risk assessment will help to identify the unique hazards at your Methodist church. In addition, you can reduce fire risks by:

  • Making regular inspections of the building’s electrical wiring and heating system. This is something the team at Methodist Insurance recommends strongly. 
  • There are also simple steps you can take to deter arsonists, you can find out more about preventing arson.
  • Keeping extinguishers in good working order. Every church is required to have a minimum of two portable fire extinguishers – one filled with water and the other with carbon dioxide.

Fire alarms

Fire extinguisherHeat detectors, smoke detectors or air sampling systems will activate in the event of a fire and alert the building occupants via local bells or preferably sirens. 

Ideally the system should signal to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) accredited to BS5979 Cat II or BS8591 Cat I, to generate a Fire and Rescue Service response. Buildings should be protected with a system installed to BS 5839 Part1: P1/L1 Category.

Smoking areas

Though smoking indoors is no longer an option, smoking areas are now common and often located on site. To avoid fire risks, smoking areas should:

  • Ideally be located at least 10 metres from any other building 
  • Be open on at least three sides to provide adequate ventilation 
  • Provided with lidded metal bins or sand buckets for the disposal of smoking materials 
  • Kept free from combustible materials, storage and waste.

Staff training

Knowing how to react in the event of a fire can limit the potential damage and injury. Employees and volunteers should:

  • be trained to use fire extinguishers for small fires
  • know how to respond in the event of evacuation 
  • be aware of their responsibilities in the event of a fire.
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