Submitted by the Rev. Leah Coleman
Pastor, Simpson United Methodist Church, Arvada, CO
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more than 1.6 million reported fires each year. Thousands of these fires occur at worship centers.
Trustees at Simpson United Methodist Church in Arvada, Colorado have many practices in place to prevent fires. This includes trimming and removing shrubbery, maintaining doors that open outward, keeping exits free from obstruction and conducting routine inspections of boilers, fire extinguishers and elevators. Another important factor of fire safety defining and practicing an evacuation plan.
During Simpson UMC’s Fire Safety Worship Service, Trustees informed the congregation of fire safety and the evacuation plan. A map was with clearly defined the exists and a “rendezvous point” aided the evacuation instructions. Each service attendee was given a map and asked to go to each exit, named "The Oreo Exit", "The Fudge Exit", and "The Gummy Exit" where their map was stamped and they received a small treat. After this demonstration, the congregation gathered at the rendezvous point for hot coca and donuts.
Simpson Trustees found a fun way to highlight an important topic and practice an evacuation plan. This exercise also sparked conversations on how to continue to improve safety at our church.
If you would like more information on using this model at your own church, please contact the Rev. Leah Coleman at (303) 428-7963. For United Methodist resources on fire safety and prevention, visit www.uminsure.org/resources-for-churches