Tips for Preparing a Safe Easter Celebration March 9, 2021 Share Easter is less than a month away, and in many locations, COVID restrictions have been relaxed to allow for some form of in-person gatherings. If your church has plans for an in-person Easter service, it is time to begin preparations for one of the busiest days on the church calendar. With larger attendance numbers and numerous activities being hosted by the church, it is important to review your safety and risk management procedures for the big weekend. Consider the suggestions and tips below for keeping members, visitors and staff safe. Please note: the specific details of your in-person gatherings will depend on federal, state and local guidelines. While planning for the Easter weekend, we encourage you to review guidelines from governmental agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state office of emergency management and the local health department. Increased Attendance There are many factors to consider when preparing for larger crowds at your church. This is especially critical if you are reopening your facility after COVID-related closures. Preparation is key in making sure both your property and your people are prepared for the big event. While you may already have safety and risk management procedures in place, think about the following ideas when reviewing those actions and getting ready for Easter weekend: Parking Lot and Walking Surfaces – Make sure parking lots, sidewalks and other walking surfaces are in good condition. In areas with more severe weather, make sure extreme temperatures haven’t caused tripping hazards such as potholes or frost heaves. To reduce the risk of potential trips and falls, ensure that handrails are secure, lighting is adequate and speed bumps, parking stops and curbs are vividly marked with a contrasting paint color. Volunteers and Security – Directing traffic and assisting pedestrians can help reduce chaos and prevent any confusion. Outdoor security should look for any suspicious activity and quickly communicate any concerns. Also be sure that your indoor security and ushers are following proper procedures. Any security, off-duty officers or volunteer parking lot attendants used during the weekend should wear bright and reflective clothing to increase their visibility. Emergencies – Prior to the holiday weekend, review all fire or other disaster evacuation plans and emergency protocol. Be sure all first-aid kits are stocked and, if applicable, defibrillators have been checked. Nurseries and Sunday School Rooms – Inspect children’s areas for any dangers such as unprotected electrical outlets, unsecured supply cabinets or unanchored furniture. The busy weekend can bring a large influx of children, so make sure you have an adequate amount of staff scheduled. Easter Egg Hunts A popular Easter tradition is a children’s Easter egg hunt. While this event is fun for the participants, improper planning can lead to potential safety concerns. There are four main factors to consider when planning an egg hunt: Hiding Locations – While there’s a desire to make egg hiding spots difficult and challenging, make sure safety is the number one concern. Hide eggs in locations that could not pose any danger to a child and are away from electrical outlets, breakable items, foliage and holes in the ground. Use of Employees and Volunteers – Egg hunts can become chaotic with so much excitement among children. Use employees and volunteers to supervise the egg hunt and ensure that children remain in safe areas during the activity. Egg Contents – If your church is using plastic eggs in your hunt, consider food allergies and choking hazards when selecting the egg contents. Ages of Children – Separating children participants by age will keep older, larger children from trampling younger children and give younger children a better chance to find eggs before older siblings and friends take them all. It will also help you out, too, by making it easier to select age-appropriate egg contents and to keep tabs on participants. Plan for a Safe Easter As your church plans for Easter activities, consider taking a pre-event walk through to make sure all safety issues for each particular activity have been addressed. Also be sure that any off-site locations for activities are pre-inspected. Reviewing your safety and risk management procedures is a good practice in preparing for Easter or any event with larger attendance numbers. Proper planning can allow your church to be more prepared for potential emergencies and will help keep your members, visitors and staff safe. Filed under Religious Organizations Tags Children & Youth Holidays & Events © 2022 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.