Storm safety advice for churches
Storms are unpredictable events but churches can take basic precautions such as managing their trees to reduce potential damage to buildings and making sure that roofs, gutters and drains are properly maintained.
Churches can also prepare by having contingency plans in place to deal with a disaster should the worst happen. Ideally, churches should prepare a disaster recovery plan covering how to deal with a severe weather event causing flood, storm or other damage so that the effects of this on the structure and its contents can be minimised and the church kept open.
How to prepare for a storm
- Keep up-to-date with the latest weather news using local TV or radio stations or www.met.ie
- Arrange for any bushes or trees that could damage windows or roofs in high winds to be trimmed back
- Ensure the church or property is properly maintained throughout the year. Particular attention should be paid to areas most likely to bear the brunt of any storm such as steeples, pinnacles, gutters and the roof
- Secure loose objects in the churchyard and grounds - such as ladders, benches or anything else that could be blown into windows
- Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the building and especially large doors.
What to do during a storm
- Do not visit the church to repair damage while the storm is in progress
- If you have to go into a church or are in a church during a storm, enter and leave the building through doors in the sheltered side, closing them behind you.
After the storm
- Be careful not to touch any electrical/telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging
- Do not walk too close to walls, buildings and trees as they could have been weakened
- Contact reputable contractors to make safe items such as fallen trees and walls.