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Keep your building safe from wayward vehicles

As you develop or review your organization’s risk control plan, you will likely consider many ways your property could be damaged or people injured—weather-related incidents; an armed intruder incident; vandalism, theft or arson; or child abuse. But a possible event that may never cross your mind is one that happens more often than you might think—a vehicle crashing into a building.

According to the Storefront Safety Council, vehicles strike buildings in the United States about 60 times every day, injuring more than 4,000 people annually. While retail stores are the most common victims of such crashes, nonprofits or other organizations that occupy space in areas with high traffic are also at risk.

Church Mutual’s risk control experts have identified steps you can take to protect your building and people from wayward vehicles:

  1. Install bollards. Bollards are short posts that keep traffic out of a certain area. They come in many forms—lighted bollards that include a special lighting feature, fixed bollards that remain secured in place, removable bollards that can be placed as needed, and automatic bollards that have a mechanism that allows them to retract into the ground.
  2. Create security barriers. When you place barriers in front of your building, they can serve as a visual reminder that cars should not go past that spot—and in some cases, they can be a physical deterrent as well. Some examples include:
    • Decorative stones or boulders – Depending on the size of the stones you use, they could be a purely decorative element, or they could be big enough that they might hinder a car from getting past them.
    • Commercial-grade pots or planters – Organizations use these types of decorations both to enhance the outside of their building and to serve as one more barrier if a driver loses control of a vehicle.
    • Gates or fences – If you use quality materials to construct your gate or fence, it could do serious damage to any vehicle that tries to break through. However, some organizations may not wish to block off the front or side of their building with a fence.
  1. Reconfigure the parking spaces near your building. Parking spaces directly in front of buildings can pose a huge risk. One of the most common causes of storefront crashes is pedal error, so it makes sense to eliminate parking spaces directly in front of your building to every extent possible.

Access additional safety-related information, resources and more designed to help your organization reduce risk at