Fire Wardens – Your Responsibilities
When a fire strikes, the lives of your employees and visitors could be on the line. It is in these situations that people look towards someone to offer direction and expertise in an emergency, and Fire Wardens can provide this reassuring presence.
Fire Wardens keep your premises fire-safe, and also make sure everyone in your workplace is safely evacuated from a fire-afflicted building. Their role is a vital one, and therefore it is essential that they are wisely chosen and properly trained.
This article will explain their importance, key duties and how they are trained, so read on to take a look at everything you need to know about Fire Wardens.
Why are Fire Wardens essential for the workplace?
Legislation requires that every business assign the role of Fire Warden to a ‘responsible person’. Depending on the size of the premises, several Fire Wardens may be required.
These wardens act as go-to fire safety representatives for other staff in the event of a fire. However, a Fire Warden’s role is not just essential during a fire; they must also conduct many other tasks to ensure that the business complies with the Fire Safety Order 2005, and all Fire Wardens must understand their duties as per the order.
They are “eyes and ears” for the employer – and if used effectively, they will assist in maintaining a safe environment for all and take prompt action on any shortfalls in fire safety identified on their routine tests and checks.
What does a Fire Warden do?
The most important aspects of being a Fire Warden is that they are properly trained, are familiar with the day to day movements of the site, are familiar with the fire safety procedures of their workplace, and have a structure and framework to follow. They must also not put themselves at risk when performing their duties.
The duties of a Fire Warden may differ depending on the size, layout and number of staff, but some standard duties could include:
- Arranging for a BAFE-accredited company to conduct regular fire risk assessments.
- Overseeing maintenance of fire emergency systems, alarms, and firefighting equipment, and this includes ensuring that fire extinguishers are in correct working order and are in the assigned locations.
- Holding regular fire drills.
- Providing safety information to staff and relevant persons.
- Ensuring that fire escape routes are free from obstruction.
- Making sure that all signage is clear and in the correct position.
During a fire, Fire Wardens’ duties could include:
- Using a fire extinguisher to tackle a small fire.
- Raising the alarm and calling the emergency services at the appropriate moments.
- Directing and guiding staff to the nearest safe exit routes.
- Assisting people with disabilities.
- Closing all windows, doors and fire doors, if possible
- Taking an active role in the roll call at the assembly points.
- Greeting and reporting to the emergency services upon their arrival.
What training is involved?
The person or people selected for the role of Fire Warden must be competent, so choose wisely. They must also undergo a short training course to prepare them for their duties. It’s wise to hire a BAFE-accredited company to conduct the training, to ensure that your volunteers are receiving the best possible knowledge and preparation for the role. Some of the aspects of the training may include:
- Fire hazards and fire precautions
- Theoretical knowledge
- Actions to take in the event of a fire
It may also include training about the personal procedures of your particular premises. It’s also important that your chosen Fire Wardens are experienced and knowledgeable about the character of your workplace or workforce.