Facilities Security and Safety - Policy, Purpose, and Administration - 2.1
Policy: It is the policy of the Apostolic Faith Church to ensure to the best of our ability the security and physical well-being of all individuals who attend or participate in events at our locations.
Purpose: To maintain operational standards and practices which promote safety and minimize risk.
Administration: The local safety management team operates in collaboration with the pastor and security personnel in implementing procedures related to the safety and security of Apostolic Faith facilities.
Building Security - 2.2
The Apostolic Faith Church is committed to providing access to our facilities that is welcoming and convenient, while maintaining the security of church property and the safety of individuals who attend our services and events. To this end, the following guidelines have been established:
- A list of phone numbers for crisis responders is to be maintained near entry areas and at other easily accessible locations throughout the church building. The list should include the church address, and provide phone numbers for:
- 911 (police, fire, and medical assistance).
- Security and building maintenance contact person(s).
- Church emergency responders (CERs) and/or individuals in the congregation who have emergency response or medical training.
- Minister(s) to contact in event of emergency.
- All entry doors except the main entry should be locked during services or church events.
- Entry to the church should be restricted to authorized individuals other than during services or activities, and a record kept of workers who have keys to the church. Access may be granted to people who do not have keys on an “as needed” basis by the pastor or his appointee.
- Computers, audio equipment, and musical instruments should be stored in locked areas.
- Entry areas must be well-lit, and exit signs posted by each exit.
- Ushers and/or security staff who have been trained according to the Apostolic Faith Procedure Guidelines for Ushers should be on duty in the church building during worship services.
- Adequate security arrangements should be made for non-routine events at the church such as weddings, funerals, fellowship dinners, etc.
- All records and documents related to church security must be kept on file in the church office.
Building Safety - 2.3
The Apostolic Faith Church is committed to maintaining our church buildings in a manner which promotes safety and minimizes risk. However, they should understand that no maintenance checklist can be all-inclusive. Each branch church will have a unique set of potential safety issues. The local safety team should inspect the church facilities on a periodic basis, and ensure that routine repair and maintenance are performed as needed.
Pastors and local safety team members should be familiar with the following basic guidelines, and make every effort to ensure that they are followed.
- Interior flooring, steps, carpet, and handrails must be kept in good condition to prevent tripping or falls.
- Adequate lighting should be provided in entries, halls, stairways, and storage areas.
- Construction or repair work sites must be marked with boundary markers, cones, and/or signs to alert of potential hazards.
- Areas storing equipment or supplies should be locked when not in use.
- Traffic zones in storage areas must be kept free of obstructions.
- Exits should be clearly marked with lighted signs, and kept free of obstructions.
- Utility cutoffs should be marked clearly so electricity, gas, and water can be shut off quickly.
- HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems should be maintained and inspected on a regular basis.
- Elevators must be annually inspected and certified to ensure they are safe to operate.
- Ministers, department heads, ushers, and other key staff members must be trained to be observant and report any unsafe conditions or equipment.
- Church buildings must be maintained as tobacco, alcohol, and drug-free facilities.
- Records related to building safety inspections, discrepancies, and work orders for corrective action are to be kept in the church record-keeping system.
- Fire alarm pull stations, smoke alarms, and a fire suppression (sprinkler) system must be maintained and inspected annually to make sure they are in working order.
- Fire extinguishers and first aid kits should be provided at well-marked and accessible locations throughout the building.
- Maps of the building and emergency evacuation routes should be posted near exits and in prominent locations throughout the building.
Facility Usage Guidelines - 2.4
Following are general guidelines related to the usage of Apostolic Faith Church facilities.
- No smoking, alcohol, or non-prescription drugs are allowed in church buildings, on the church grounds, or at church-sponsored activities.
- No sexually-oriented materials, in either electronic or print versions, are allowed in church buildings, on the church grounds, or at church-sponsored activities.
- Church furnishings and/or equipment must not be removed from the church premises without authorization.
- Movable walls within the church facilities are to be adjusted by authorized personnel only.
- Any damage to the church facilities or property must be reported.
- Those who use an area of the church are expected to leave it as clean and neat as they found it. Chairs, tables, and equipment should be returned to their original locations.
- Workers are asked to help keep the buildings and grounds tidy and free of litter; this is a shared responsibility.
- The church is not responsible for the personal property of parishioners or visitors. Items left behind and not claimed within two weeks may be donated to an appropriate community service agency or discarded.
- Care must be taken not to disturb the neighbors in the vicinity of the church, or to infringe upon their rights in any way.
Church Grounds and Parking Lot Safety - 2.5
It is vital for every Apostolic Faith Church to maintain the church grounds and parking areas in a manner which promotes safety and minimizes risk.
Church Grounds Security and Safety
- Outdoor walkways must be kept in good repair and free of uneven surfaces.
- Adequate outdoor lighting should be installed at all entrances.
- Landscaping should be trimmed regularly to prevent vandals or assailants from hiding near entry points, and to eliminate any obstruction of vision for drivers.
- Ice and snow should be removed as soon as possible from all church walkways and entrance areas.
- Construction or repair work sites around the property must be marked with boundary markers, cones, and/or signs to alert people of potential hazards.
- Staff members and volunteers should be observant and report any unsafe conditions or equipment to the pastor or local safety team.
- Church grounds must be tobacco, alcohol, and drug free.
- Records relating to city ordinances involving church property, inspections, discrepancies, and work orders for corrective action are to be kept in the church records.
Parking Lot Security and Safety
- At events where non-members will be present (such as weddings and funerals, temporary signage should be utilized near the parking area to direct individuals to proper locations.
- Handicap parking must be well-marked and provided in accordance with state law.
- Adequate outdoor lighting should be maintained in all church parking lots.
- Daytime use of the parking lots may be granted to city/state applicants on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of the pastor.
- Permission to use the parking lot for any purpose other than parking must be obtained from the pastor or local safety team.
Kitchen Safety - 2.6
Food is a common part of many church activities, and a church kitchen can be a good place for making memories and building relationships. However, food handling comes with inherent risks. In Apostolic Faith churches with kitchens, policies must be maintained which protect the health and wellness of those who use the area and those who are served from it.
Pastors may find it helpful to designate one person as the church’s kitchen coordinator. That person could be responsible for ensuring that individuals who use the kitchen are familiar with and follow the food handling practices described in these Procedure Guidelines.
Those who work in our church kitchens should remember that safety must come first when making work decisions regarding participation in food preparation, serving, or clean-up after an event. They should never come to work in the church kitchen when they have a contagious illness.
- Authorization to use the church kitchen should be granted on a case-by-case basis.
- Kitchen coordinators and key staff members should have current food handling certification as required by the state. (This generally involves going through a brief online course and taking a test.)
- Ensure that all kitchen volunteers know how to use the appliances properly. (Some may not be familiar with commercial equipment.)
- Entrances to the kitchen area should be kept locked except when the kitchen is in use.
- Children of primary-school age and younger should be restricted from access to the kitchen unless accompanied by a responsible adult and closely monitored.
Equipment and Maintenance:
- Working smoke alarms must be installed in the church kitchen area and inspected on a regular basis.
- A first aid kit containing burn gel must be kept in an easily accessible location.
- A fire extinguisher must be installed in the kitchen or immediate proximity.
- Each kitchen should have a properly working hand sink with soap and single-use paper towels.
- Equipment such as stoves, refrigerators, and dishwashers should be maintained in good condition.
- Stove hoods, filters, and exhaust ducts should be cleaned regularly.
- Refrigeration motors, cooling coils, and compressors must be kept free of combustible materials and cleaned regularly.
- The refrigerator temperature should be set at 40° or cooler.
- If feasible, a commercial dishwasher should be maintained to ensure that dishes and utensils are properly sanitized. Water temperature should be set to reach at least 180° Fahrenheit.
- Garbage containers should be durable, easily cleanable, insect and rodent proof, and not leak or absorb liquids.
- Ensure that cleaning solutions and chemicals have safety labels and are stored securely.
Food Preparation, Handling, and Serving Guidelines:
All state regulations regarding food preparation, handling, and serving must be followed by those who use our church kitchens. Detailed guidelines are provided in the Procedure Guidelines for Kitchen Staff and Food Handlers, so those who use the church kitchen should have read that document or be under the close supervision of a kitchen staff member who will instruct them.
A state food handler’s booklet should be kept in each kitchen, as requirements vary from state to state.
We recommend that the USDA chart “Basics for Handling Food Safely” be posted in an easily observable place in the church kitchen. That document is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/18cece94-747b-44ca-874f-32d69fff1f7d/Basics_for_Safe_Food_Handling.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.
Regulations concerning correct food preparation, handling, and serving include, but are not limited to, the following general guidelines:
- Only use foods before the “use by” date.
- Thaw foods properly.
- Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to the proper temperature.
- Ensure that refrigerators and freezers are set to maintain the proper temperatures.
- Prepare food no further in advance than is necessary.
- Take care to avoid cross-contamination. Use different cutting boards for raw meats, vegetables, and cooked food.
- Protect food from contamination by keeping it covered or packaged until serving time.
- Use disposable gloves when handling or serving prepared food.
- Do not leave food at room temperature for more than two hours.
Following are basic guidelines concerning proper sanitation practices in church kitchens. (More detailed instruction is provided in the Procedure Guidelines for Kitchen Staff and Food Handlers.)
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before beginning food preparation, after handling food, and after using the restroom.
- Use appropriate sanitizers to thoroughly clean any surface where food is prepared, before and after each different item.
- Use paper towels or cleaning cloths for wiping up spills or cleaning counters. Cleaning cloths should be laundered using the hottest cycle possible.
- Use proper containers for waste food accumulation and empty containers immediately after each event.
Nursery Safety - 2.7
An inspection of the church nursery area should be undertaken at regular intervals by the nursery supervisor and/or a safety team representative to ensure that the physical environment is adequately maintained.
- All cribs and playpens used in the area must meet current safety standards.
- Electrical outlets must be covered when not in use, either with a non-movable piece of furniture or with safety caps.
- Make sure that no cords dangle from clocks, fans, or other electrical appliances, as these create a potential strangulation hazard.
- Gates must be installed on stairwells that are accessible to young children in the nursery area.
- A buzzer or alert system should be considered if the nursery is located at some distance from the church sanctuary.
- A fire and emergency evacuation plan must be posted near each entrance into the nursery area.
- Exit doors are never to be locked with padlocks or deadbolts.
- The nursery area should be equipped with a phone, and emergency phone numbers posted near it.