The temperature's not the only thing that rises over the summer months; risks can escalate as well. Managing these risks effectively will 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, meaning they are likely targets for burglaries. Therefore, security awareness and vigilance are very important to protect your property and to manage the safety of all patrons.
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 safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.
If you're running or hosting an event:
- 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?
- Establish safe cash handling procedures. This includes varying cash count times, banking protocols, and ensuring the password for the combination safe is changed every three months.
- Ensure operators provide evidence of training, licensing, registration and equipment maintenance and request copies of public liability, workers compensation and professional indemnity insurance covers.
- Make creating a safe environment a priority. Ensure working with children and reference checks are completed for every relevant person involved and implement training and communication programs.
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. Cameras should be fully functional and actively recording.
- Ensure valuable items such as laptops and other portable devices are securely stored out of sight. Remove packaging from new laptop deliveries.
- Fuse boxes should be reinforced, enclosed in a sturdy metal box and locked to prevent ease of access for malicious power disconnection.
- Test and ensure alarm systems are operational. Activate alarm at night when buildings are not occupied and that the alarm is relayed to third parties.
- Check that all gates providing access to private areas, external doors and windows are locked.
- Perimeter lighting should be activated by a timer, motion sensor or routinely manually activated. Check prior to closing if any globes need replacing.
- Lock away all garden tools and items that can be used to access higher floors such as ladders so they cannot be used by offenders to break in.
- Don't store keys in the same area as the safe and keys should remain unlabelled so they are not easily identifiable.
- Keep the area around buildings clear of combustible materials and ensure wheelie bins are stored in a secure area.
A simple risk assessment will give your school, parish, Church group or sporting club all the information you need to effectively manage the risk.
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.
Protecting Property Checklist
Incident Reporting and Investigation Fact Sheet
Sample Incident Report Template
Sample Incident Investigation Report Template
Candle Fires Hazard
Key Management Checklist
Securing Laptops and other Portable Devices Fact Sheet