What if a fire broke out at your church?
It's not something any of us want to consider and I honestly never thought about it, but in our Great Idea Swap, one ECC Member sent in an inspiring and thought-provoking collection of material that their church put together to deal with this situation. This is one of the things I love about the Great Idea Swap, is that it is about so much more than sharing design ideas, but a real exchange of MINISTRY ideas and information.
I can't describe the cards, their creation and inspiration better than she does, so I'm quoting her commentary on the materials, how they came about and ideas on how to use them:
Here are a few select firecards from our fire safety program set up
at Grace Lutheran Church in Hendersonville, N.C. (near Asheville, N.C. in
the mountains, around 2002). We had a member who spearheaded this whole
effort + a committee that worked with the local fire marshal to develop
evacuation routes from every part of a fairly large church plant that also
included a large weekday preschool program.
I did find the firecard graphic files that had been developed from a large
floor plan of the building + notes. One or more cards were designed for
every room/part of the building (some required several different
orientations, depending on how people faced or where the cards were
located). The cards were color-coded and laminated: letter-sized cards were
put into pockets on each classroom/office/other room door or on the wall
next to the door (or several places in large areas such as the fellowship
hall) and generally half-size cards (5.5x8.5) were spaced periodically in
the sanctuary hymnal racks along the pews (the sanctuary had been divided up
into four sections + balcony + choir loft/sacristy, etc.). I've included a
sample of the cards to give you an idea of what they looked like + a few
notes that help explain how they worked. Ushers/teachers were trained on how
to use these materials, "man" various stations as needed and help folks get
out in case of a fire.
What I couldn't find was the nationally published story I wrote because of
how compelling I found our member's personal story/reason for working so
hard on this project (as a child he had watched his mother die because of a
house fire) and the local fire marshal's enthusiasm for our project because
he said so few churches (at least at that time & place) make the effort to
do this kind of planning (and practice drills) even though they are often
mixing crowds and candles (lots of them at candlelight Christmas services!)
and also have folks using the kitchen who aren't always familiar with the
equipment ... (at least those are two of the marshal's reasons I still
Setting up fire evacuation routes and all the planning/training that goes
into this effort can be a daunting project, especially for a church with a
large physical plant ... but oh, so worth it for safety and peace-of-mind
sake. Today these routes could be created and maybe visuals/instructions
included in a church app or provided as a PDF for smartphones. (But you'd
need to be directed to look up your route prior to a meeting/service,
depending on where you are-like on a plane-because you certainly don't have
time to scroll through a number of pages in a fire emergency!) And because
of all the various activities that take place in a church facility that may
involve non-members-including scouts, community meetings, etc.-it seems
there's still a need for printed cards located throughout the building +
continuous awareness training provided for every group's leaders.
Let me know if you have questions or want to see different cards, etc. I'm
hoping these examples may be sufficient to help illustrate the idea ... one
that every congregation should seriously consider.
I think this a GREAT example of why we do the Great Idea Swap. This is something every church should have in place, but I'm sure many churches reading this will not have it and Lord willing, will get something like this in place.
Here are the examples for you to look at:
CLICK on the Image below to download the PDF file
The Great Idea Swap is a wonderful way to share your church communication ideas. If you have any ministry ideas your church communication supports that may be an inspiration to other churches, here is a way to share them. Please CLICK HERE for more information on how to participate.