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SAFETY CODE FOR TOWER USERS
- The Tower Risk Assessment and the Tower Fire Risk Assessment are part of St Michael’s Safety Policy and apply at all times.
- Bellringing and tuition of bellringing is carried out according to the guidelines of the Central Council and Ecclesiastical Insurance.
- The oak staircase is closed to members of the public. However, if accompanied by a churchwatcher or other authorised person, visitors are allowed to climb the 8 stone steps at the bottom, in order to view the oak flight.
4. Cheltenham Fire Services have keys to the church, are familiar with the tower, and have already planned their emergency procedures. Fire evacuation procedures are posted in the Ringing Room.
5. All tower users read and sign the Safety Procedures document which includes the following:
- Solitary working should be avoided.
- Where solitary working does occur, extra precautions shall be taken and another person shall be advised when you enter the tower and when you leave it.
- Mobile phones shall always be carried in the tower.
- The bells shall normally be in the down and safe position from Monday to Friday. They are likely to be up at weekends. No-one shall enter the tower except ringers while the bells are up.
- The Ringing Master shall always advise when the bells are likely to be up and shall put warning signs in place.
- Other tower users shall warn the Ringing Master when they plan to go up the tower.
- Suitable footwear shall always be worn.
- Ladder users should always have their hands free.
- Ladder users should always have 3 points of contact with the ladder.
- If loads that are awkward or heavy need to be taken up or down a ladder, then ropes, hoists, small backpacks, tool belts shall be used as appropriate.
- The Tower Captain shall ensure that the monthly safety checks are carried out in the ringing room and at least annual checks on the levels above.
Fire evacuation procedures are as follows.
Brian Chappell, Mike Holloway, Wendy Treble and Ann Jessop all did fire extinguisher training in St Michael's in 2012. We hope to keep us all safe! However, the first instruction in the case of fire is always GET OUT. Fighting the fire will only be required in very rare circumstances. A fire anyway would be a very rare and unusual circumstance!
There are now 2 extinguishers on our landing.
The large one is the Foam extinguisher, effective for solid and liquid fires.
The new, small extinguisher is a CO2 one. This is in case we get an electrical fire.
In case of fire in the tower, procedure would be:
- GET EVERYONE OUT,
- phone 999, giving our postcode GL52 8NG for Church Approach, GL52 8BA for School Road,
- use CO2 extinguisher on elec appliance or light or wiring if appropriate,
- turn off power if safe to reach switch (red master switch is best option),
- use Foam extinguisher if there is general burning,
- CHECK EVERYONE IS OUT,
- last person leave doors closed but not locked,
- check someone has phoned 999.
Please note the CO2 extinguisher makes an explosive noise when used.
Warning of fire downstairs
The smoke alarm on our ceiling is radio linked to the one below, so we should be warned if there is a fire downstairs.
If the sidesmen want to warn us of a fire downstairs, they will ring our entry bell continuously.
The Ringing Master shall take charge and shall send downstairs:
- first, a keyholder, to open exit doors,
- second, a fire extinguisher trained person, to assess situation downstairs,
- third, a person to take charge of evacuation downstairs and outside,
- fourth, everyone else in turn.
There will be no arguments about the order of our going.
Although time must not be wasted in making an exit, ie no waiting for someone else, no discussing who goes next, care must be taken to descend the oak stairs safely and without haste. On reaching the bottom it is important to keep moving and get clear of the tower (remember how annoying/dangerous it is when someone stops at the bottom of an escalator and you are behind them).
Downstairs, just in the tower entrance, is a new Foam extinguisher. This is just in case we need it to clear a way out. Leave it to a trained person. Again, the general instruction is just GET OUT.
Besides the big West door and big South door both at the back of the church, you can always get out via the priest's door, which is on the south wall of the chancel, behind a curtain, and the key is always there.
Should we lose lighting in the tower, our emergency lantern will come on, and there is a supply of small torches in the glass fronted cupboard.
The Assembly point is the Rectory garden. We are not to linger in the churchyard where we could be in the way of the fire engines.
An A4 poster to cover all the above shall be in our ringing room.
I am fairly sure we will not need any of the above. But better safe than sorry!
Ann J Updated Oct 2014 End of document.