Does your camp collect clutter?
If your camp/conference center is like most, it’s common for storage areas to become packed with “stuff” that has collected over the years, including stuff that you forgot you had. It’s human nature to hang on to items that have broken down, worn out, become obsolete, were partially used or donated to you.
Unneeded items can quickly pile up, often taking over valuable and needed storage space. Stored items can also present risks.
- Trip and fall hazards sometimes develop when staff, campers and guests try to navigate around stored items or walk through packed storage rooms.
- Excessive clutter may create a more concentrated fire load within a building (lots of combustible items in one place that burn and support the spread of fire). A large fire load can make it more difficult to extinguish a fire.
- Rodents and insects often thrive in cluttered storage areas.
- Old chemicals including paints, pesticides, solvents, oils and cleaning solutions could be prone to decomposition and container leakage, creating environmental or safety hazards.
- If water seeps into or collects on stored items, mold could develop and lead to health hazards and costly cleanup expense.
- Stored items might be too dangerous to use again due to old wiring, defective electrical components, lack of machinery guards, lead paint issues or other inherent hazards.
With the winter months now upon us, your camp/conference center may experience a slowdown in activities. This break in the action offers a good time to assess your storage areas and take steps to de-clutter them.
Use current staff, volunteers or students on holiday break to assist with your de-clutter initiatives. Besides looking through designated storage rooms, also check administrative offices, kitchens, maintenance areas, sleeping quarters and worship centers. Include in your assessment any basement, crawlspace or attic areas that tend to accumulate clutter. Also, investigate what’s being stored against or adjacent to buildings and how these items can create fire, structural or health hazards.
Church Mutual offers a detailed checklist, Self-Inspection Safety Checklist for Camps and Conference Centers, which covers a variety of exposures involving buildings and grounds.
Take time now to de-clutter storage and reduce potential safety and fire exposures.