Are your risks higher in summer?

End of year school performance

The temperature's not the only thing that rises over the summer months; risks can escalate as well. Manage them effectively and make the whole season more enjoyable.

The summer months can be unpredictable. Schools can be a hive of activity one minute with concerts, pageants, graduations and fetes, then virtually deserted and vulnerable to theft and vandalism the next. Churches glow with Christmas lights and candles and pews spill over as communities come together to celebrate.


Events are a wonderful opportunity to connect as a community but they pose many significant risks including crowds, traffic, larger than normal volumes of cash and the protection of children and vulnerable adults.

If you're running or hosting an event:

  • Make creating a safe environment a priority. Ensure working with children checks are completed for every worker, volunteer and contractor and implement a strong training and communication program.
  • Establish safe cash handling procedures.
  • Keep the area clean, tidy and well maintained to avoid accidents like slips, trips and falls.
  • Consider how weather might affect your event. Could rain make a site unsafe? Is there adequate protection from the sun?
  • Ensure operators provide evidence of training, licensing, registration and equipment maintenance and request copies of public liability, workers compensation and professional indemnity insurance covers.


Candles play an important role in liturgical celebrations. But a candle is also an open flame, capable of igniting anything that can burn. In fact, candles are one of the most common and preventable causes of fire in Church properties.

If you plan to use candles:

  • Keep them well away from items like clothing, books, paper, curtains, Christmas trees, flammable decorations or liquids.
  • Avoid high traffic areas and make sure surfaces are stable and heat resistant.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Never allow children to use candles without adult supervision.
  • Consider using electric candles as an alternative.

Theft and vandalism

After the Christmas and end of term rush the rest of summer is generally a quiet time for schools and other Church organisations. An empty property can easily become a target for theft or malicious damage.

If your organisation closes over Christmas:

  • Establish regular patrols.
  • Implement CCTV or other monitoring systems.
  • Ensure valuable items such as laptops and other portable devices are securely stored out of site.

A simple risk assessment will give your school, parish, Church group or sporting club all the information you need to effectively manage the risk. See the Practical Help section below for a useful guide to this process.

Practical help

CCI has a number of useful publications on this and many other topics available on this site or by calling risksupport on 1300 660 827.

They include:

Managing Risk in Catholic Organisations – Conducting a Risk Assessment, Developing a Risk Treatment Plan

Incident Reporting and Investigation

Sample Incident Report Template

Sample Incident Investigation Template

Securing laptops

Property Protection

Candle Hazard


Posted: 19 December 2014

Topic: Managing Risk

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