5 Ways to Protect Vacant Property During Shutdowns

May 27, 2020 - 4 minutes read

Is your church unoccupied right now due to the pandemic? If so you should have a plan in place to protect it.

church-1024855_640-2While it’s the case that you always need to be proactive in protecting your property from harm and damage, during closures you may need to take some extra precautions.

This is because when a property is unoccupied it can be at even greater risk of vandalism, arson, fire or water damage and burglary than usual. Also, if the usual maintenance isn’t happening the property can be at risk of degradation. This means that as well as security measures you should have an ongoing plan for property maintenance.

Advise your insurer

Start by letting us know that your building isn’t currently being used. You should also discuss any particular concerns you have regarding your cover.

Next steps

You should take as many steps as necessary to keep your property protected. The following guide isn’t exhaustive but should help you get started.

1. Fire safety:

  • Remove any combustible items on the property that could be used by arsonists. Also secure your wheelie bins.
  • Ensure your gutters are free of leaves and other debris.
  • Make sure any internal fire doors are kept closed.
  • Run an inspection on your fire safety equipment.

2. Utilities:

  • Disconnect non-essential electricity supplies by unplugging at the socket. However make sure any essential systems (e.g. computer servers, fire protection and security systems) remain connected.
  • Turn off gas at the mains and drain residual gas – e.g. by running stoves.
  • If you won’t be needing access to water, turn off your supply at the mains and turn on your taps to drain away any residual water.

3. Security:

  • Lock letterboxes and ask the postal service to redirect your mail.
  • Make sure intruder alarms are working properly.
  • Remove valuable items from the property, or at least keep them hidden from view.
  • Crime-proof your building as much as possible. This includes keeping it well-secured and making sure gates and outbuildings are padlocked. Change the locks if necessary.
  • Control who will be getting access during the shutdown and keep records.
  • Consider installing additional security equipment or using extra security services at this time.
  • Check on the property regularly during the closure and report any suspicious activities to the police.

 4. Health & Safety:

  • Ensure any chemicals or dangerous goods are well-secured.
  • Remove rubbish and waste to deter vermin and consider having a professional pest inspection done.
  • Do a quick inspection to identify and remedy any major hazards and risks around the property.

5. Maintenance:

Even when vacant, your property needs regular maintenance inspections. This may include:

  • Conducting roof and gutter inspections.
  • Making sure storm water drains are free from debris.
  • Keeping lawns and gardens in good condition. This also helps reduce fire risk.
  • Professional fire-equipment inspections.

For more maintenance tips see our previous articles on creating maintenance schedules and Essential Safety Measures for churches.

Need more assistance?

The more steps you can take right now the lower your risk of losses from crime or fire will be during the shutdown. To discuss property risk managment or your property insurance policy, feel free to get in touch with our team by phone or email.

Written by Tess





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