Is Your Church Prepared for Inclement Weather? 5 Pointers

Is Your Church Prepared for Inclement Weather? 5 Pointers December 15, 2023

While winter weather can be unpredictable, you can prepare for the effects the same way you put on your winter boots and coat before going out. 

Here are some things to consider to prepare your church for inclement weather. 

1. Create a Communication Strategy

You need to have open communication channels for storm warnings, especially on Sundays or days when you have services. 

Two strategies you can employ are regular updates and emergency notifications. Regular updates can be posted on your usual church platforms. A Facebook page or church group on any of the church’s pages on social media platforms with updates about the weather and possible closure. 

If the church will be closed on the day due to adverse weather, communicate by text or email. It also helps to send push notifications through a church app if you have one. That way, most people will see your message immediately rather than looking for the information themselves. 

2. Have Agreed Upon Weather Guidelines

While you need to be prepared to communicate during adverse weather conditions, it’s also important to have guidelines so people know what to do before contacting you. 

Figure out what your church’s guidelines are based on your area. Maybe everyone will agree that church continues in heavy rains but services go virtual in snow. If there are weather warnings before fundraising or community events, people should wait for communication and expect the event to be postponed. 

Assign a weather-management role to a leader or two in the church. It’s up to them to keep up with weather warnings and give advice on proceedings if an event needs to be canceled or postponed. 

Ensure your congregation is aware of what each type of warning means:

  • Watch: A watch means there is a risk of hazardous weather conditions, but where, when and what time it will happen are unclear. The point of this warning is to keep people alert and watching in case there is a storm.
  • Advisory: Weather services issue this alert when a storm is approaching. An advisory can also be issued if a storm occurs that could potentially lead to safety issues for people and property.
  • Warning: A warning means that a storm that is happening or approaching will threaten life and property. People need to seek shelter and take protective precautions.

3. Evacuation Plans Are Essential

Evacuation plans may be the most important point to consider. Both church leadership, staff and church members should be well aware of what to do in case of an emergency. If you need to refresh your evacuation plan, now is the time. 

Consider the weather problems that usually occur in your area. What happens if there is a snowstorm or approaching tornado? Aim for a five-step plan that’s easy to follow. This should include a floor plan indicating three emergency exit routes in case there is an obstacle near one. 

4. A Round of Maintenance Before Winter Goes a Long Way

Although storm season has already begun, it’s worth doing a maintenance check to ensure the church building will be protected from adverse weather. 

The most important items to check for are the roof, windows, walls and doors. If you notice persistent dampness, peeling paint or wallpaper, and swelling in woodwork or walls, this indicates water intrusion, which has the potential to result in mold growth. Check the roof and gutter to ensure the drainage system works. Ensure that windows and doors have weather stripping to keep temperature levels safe inside the building.

In addition, ensure that you have working emergency lights or energy savers that will work in the event of a power outage. Whether you’re hosting a prayer group or meeting with church staff, it’s always good to prepare. 

5. The Church Can Be a Source of Shelter

Consider whether you could use an area of the church building as a shelter for people who may need it during inclement weather. It could be a hall in the church with supplies like sleeping bags, blankets, flashlights, food and water.

It’s also important to have a first aid kit nearby. A basic first-aid kit contains antibiotic wipes, bandages, personal protective equipment, medications and other medical items. 


Get Your Church Ready for Inclement Weather

From regular communication and an evacuation plan to making the church a source of shelter, consider how you can ensure your church is ready for adverse weather conditions and storms.

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