Every business should have a trained fire warden as part of their staff at all times. A fire warden is responsible for leading the evacuation of the building in the event of a fire, and can help minimise damage and casualties.
The important role that a fire warden play in ensuring your business is prepared for a fire emergency should not be underestimated. Along with your emergency plan, fire wardens are an important risk control measure to ensure that your workplace is prepared should an emergency situation, potentially a fire, occur. Hence, businesses are advised to choose their fire wardens carefully.
7 key roles of a fire warden include:
- To assist in preventing emergencies by monitoring the adequacy of the fire risk control measures.
- To assist the workplace manager to implement and improve the emergency arrangements in the workplace.
- To raise awareness of fire safety amongst staff about the fire hazards that exist within the workplace.
- To be familiar with emergency arrangements and all fire escape routes and areas for their designated area.
- Ensure all people are accounted for during an evacuation.
- To assist all people in the workplace in the event of a fire, including those with specific needs
- Assist in the safe evacuation of all visitors and staff and ensure their designated area is clear.
If the fire alarm is sounded, fire wardens have a duty to assist in the safe evacuation of workers and visitors from your workplace immediately, and to ensure that their designated area has been cleared.
During an evacuation, a fire warden needs to:
- direct everyone to leave the building using all the appropriate routes and exits (and not inappropriate exits such as lifts)
- check all accessible spaces in their area, including the bathroom, to make sure everyone has evacuated – this should be done on the way out of the building so that the fire warden isn’t putting themselves at risk by re-entering the evacuated area
- close the doors to help to isolate the fire and
- guide everyone to the assembly area and assist in checking that everyone has arrived safely
Fire wardens should be provided with full authority to conduct an evacuation and your workers should know that the warden has this authority.
The fire warden should also check on a regular basis that fire exits are clear at all times.
So…do you have an assigned fire warden to carry out these functions in your workplace? And if not, should you?
Is there a legal requirement to have fire wardens?
The HSE recommends that every workplace has a minimum of one trained Fire Warden in every workplace for every 5 members of staff. This number is also dependant on the workplace site, industry, the buildings in question, the number of staircases and other considerations, so it is a general rule.
How many fire wardens should you appoint?
How many fire wardens your workplace should have is dependent on the size and nature (i.e. level of risk) in your business. For example, a business that handles or stores flammable substances is high-risk and will need higher risk control measures, including potentially more fire wardens.
For small businesses, you may only need one person who is aware of the workplace layout, location of fire exits and is able to manage an evacuation in an emergency.
For medium to large businesses, it is quite common to have a chief warden and deputy warden for the whole workplace and, depending on the size of the floors and extent of the risks, a floor warden for each floor and area wardens for different areas on each floor.
Do not rely solely on your fire wardens as they may be unavailable on the day a fire starts. All staff must understand how to respond if a fire commences.
Online Fire Warden Training Course
Fire Safety Online Training is fast becoming the most popular way to train staff members. Here at PD training, we offer Fire Safety Awareness, Fire Extinguisher Awareness and Fire Warden Training online. Our online courses provide minimal disruption to employees and employers and can be undertaken on any device that can access the internet.
On completion of the course, delegates receive a free downloadable certificate that can be verified by employers through our website. Our courses are designed to be engaging and interactive, and provide all the knowledge needed in fire safety and risk management and ensure the delegate is fully trained for fire warden responsibilities.