If an armed intruder entered your facility, would you know what to do? What if someone fell on a slippery walkway outside your building and threatened a lawsuit? Some situations are out of your control, but many aren’t. That’s why comprehensive safety plans are a huge asset.
Thinking about how to handle possible scenarios your organization may face and developing preventive measures can significantly reduce risk. “It’s important to have planned responses, not knee-jerk reactions, for emergency situations,” says Eric Spacek, director of risk management and loss control at GuideOne Insurance.
With the new year just around the corner, now is a good time to create a safety plan or revisit an existing one. “Factor in current events and evolving risks when working on your plan,” Spacek says. Another smart move? Use the EFFECT® framework – and considerations for each topic – to organize your plan and cover your bases:
Safety Plan Essentials
This post was written by Katie Rynard at GuideOne Connections blog.
Emergency preparedness — You can make scary situations more manageable by planning for crisis scenarios such as arson and fire, church violence, medical emergencies, severe weather and disaster relief.
• Develop a crisis communication strategy that includes media outreach, facility closing announcements and emergency phone numbers
• Train leaders, staff, ushers, greeters and anyone who works with children on emergency response
• Clearly mark all exit routes and conduct regular evacuation drills
• Regularly inspect walking surfaces and correct fall hazards such as debris, cracks and potholes
• Create facility usage policies to hold outside users of your organization accountable
• Always lock doors and windows when the building is unoccupied
• Hire licensed and/or certified professionals to inspect electrical, fire prevention, and heating and cooling systems and make repairs
Financial safeguards — Set guidelines on how to collect, count, deposit and report finances.
• Train ushers on how to take the collection and keep it safe. Lock up cash.
• Maintain separation of duties between the ushers, counters, financial secretary and treasurer
• Schedule an impartial, scheduled audit of your books
• Track and log all accounts and keep financial records secure
Employee and volunteer safety — Training and communication are essential to protecting staff – and your organization – from on-the-job liability.
• Create an employee handbook with employment policies and practices
• Establish a social media policy that defines what is acceptable and the consequences for violating rules
• Articulate policies that define what constitutes sexual harassment – and that harassment will not be tolerated
• Require that volunteers sign liability release forms before participating in higher-risk activities such as disaster relief efforts and mission trips
Children and youth safety — Protecting children starts with staff screening and continues with providing a safe environment for learning and play.
• Hold all activities for children in central, highly visible locations
• Train all employees and volunteers on how to properly work with children and adolescents
• Gather completed consent forms, such as “Participation Authorization” and “Consent to Emergency Medical Treatment,” from parents
Transportation safeguards — Help members, employees and volunteers get to and from their destinations safely with regular vehicle maintenance and approved, experienced drivers.
• Pre-select and screen all drivers
• Conduct pre- and post-trip inspections on all vehicles
• Equip vehicles with safety equipment and accident reporting kits
• Communicate trip safety procedures to participants before each departure
• Require that seat belts be worn at all times
Thank you to GuideOne Connections Blog for partnering with us and allowing us to share this post on our blog. You can find the original post and many more awesome resources on their blog.