North Texas has a pattern of ice storms and heavy freezes during mid-to-late winter. If these occur, injury risks and property damage risks will beckon. Public properties, churches among them, should take proper precautions should a storm threaten. If this is your responsibility you might wonder where to start? Let’s consider some of the precautions you should take during winter weather.
With care, you can reduce liability risks at your church. This will not only protect you and the property, but also your members and guests.
Your Ice Storm Checklist
Often, winter weather will trigger an immediate cancellation of church activities. You should not hold events because that puts attendees at risk of injuries, car accidents and other losses.
Even so, the effects of ice storms can linger. They might present damage and safety risks throughout the affected areas for days. If your church lies in a storm zone, then you’ll need to take a few precautions to keep the site safe.
- Clear away debris from around the exterior of the church. Overhanging limbs, shrubbery and other items might dislodge and crash in to the church during the storm.
- Invest in ice melt. Place it on all outdoor surfaces, notably parking lots, sidewalks, ramps and stairways. Reapply the ice melt as necessary.
- Check the building’s plumbing. Because of freezing temps, pipes have a risk of bursting during winter storms. Wrap exposed pipes to keep them warm. Also leave a small stream of water in all faucets. The moving water will have a very low chance of freezing, and thus reduce the risk of a rupture.
- In case of power outages, have an emergency generator on hand. This might help support vital systems like the furnace and emergency lighting.
- After the storm passes, clear away icicles from the premises. These pose injury risks if they break loose and hit someone.
Don’t resume regular operations until temperatures have improved and the ice has melted.
What can you do in case of damage?
Ice storm damage usually has coverage under your church’s property insurance. So, if property damage occurs, you can likely file a claim on your policy for the repair costs. However, remember that certain damage will not have full coverage. So, always take safety precautions regardless of existing coverage.
Don’t forget, if a third party gets hurt in the church or on the ice, they might hold the church responsible. Therefore, you might have to turn to liability insurance to compensate them for their losses. Don’t hesitate to get a comprehensive Dallas church insurance package for property damage, liability and other risks.