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The Ultimate Guide to Fire Marshals and Wardens

schedule 29th August 2019 by Virtual College in Health and Safety Last updated on 29th August 2019

ultimate fire warden guide

The Fire Wardens and the Fire Marshals – these are the unsung heroes of the office space. When fire becomes a real and veritable threat in the office, the Fire Wardens and Marshals ready themselves to organise evacuations, remaining calm under the pressure of emergency.

Their work is vital, yet very rarely needed in most workplaces. When they are needed however, they have to be prepared to answer the call. That preparation starts here, with our ultimate guide to becoming a successful Fire Warden or Fire Marshal:

Planning for the worst

Depending on your employer, you, as a Fire Warden, may be expected to work from a pre-devised fire evacuation plan provided to you by your company. This plan details how you should respond at every turn in order to successfully evacuate your colleagues.

However, one of your Fire Warden duties might be to come up with said plan. If this is the case, carry out a fire risk assessment of your surroundings, making careful note of the where the fire escapes are. Your assessment should also include the positions of fire extinguishers, fire blankets and fire alarms which may be of help, if the fire is in your immediate vicinity or if the rest of the company is unaware of the threat.

After your assessment, devise a structured, yet simple fire evacuation plan which covers:

  • What to do on encountering a fire
  • What to do on hearing the fire alarm
  • How to contact the fire brigade
  • Where the points of assembly are
  • Where the nearest fire escapes are
  • Where the nearest fire extinguisher is

During a fire emergency

In case of a fire emergency, the fire warden is required to step up and be ready to organise the evacuation procedure. At this stage, a range of responsibilities present themselves, the priority of which depend on the size and nature of your workplace. Generally, the first step is to call the fire brigade on learning of a fire, whether that’s from the alarm or from a colleague.

From there on out, you, as the Fire Warden, take up a reactive role. Regardless of workspace, there are common steps to every evacuation. You should direct everyone under their care to their nearest fire escape, ensuring that all personal items and coats are left behind. If the fire is close, you may be required to tackle the fire using fire-fighting equipment such as extinguishers and blankets.

Following this, the rooms in the immediate vicinity should be checked door to door where possible and safe, checking that all employees are safely evacuated. On exiting a room, make sure to close as many windows as you can, and close every fire door behind yourself to stop the fire spreading.

Your final responsibility is to head for the assembly point and carry out the roll call, where either you or the chief Fire Warden must run through the names of all employees in your workplace. Await the fire brigade from here and do not re-enter the building at any point.

Vigilance and preparation

Thankfully fires are normally a fairly rare occurrence, and this means that Fire Wardens must always stay aware of any risks around their work environment. This can take the form of:

  • Ensuring all fire escapes are kept clear at all times
  • Being aware of any new equipment which might represent a fire risk
  • Training and informing colleagues on the fire evacuation plan, using a Fire Warden course
  • Ensuring that fire equipment is in its designated place
  • Provide fire safety inductions to new employees

With fire, you can never be too prepared. The good news is that our Fire Safety for Fire Marshals and Wardens Training course is a superb resource for training not only Fire Marshals/Wardens, but also the general workforce. Simple, informative and intuitive, this Fire Warden course runs through general fire safety training and grants an in-depth understanding of the duties and roles of Fire Marshals/Wardens in an easy-to-follow format.

Top Fire Warden FAQs

Do I need a fire warden at work?

Businesses need a fire warden or marshal, the number of which must be appropriate to the size of the company.

Do you need training to be a fire warden?

All employees acting as fire wardens need to receive at least basic training.

What does a fire warden do?

A fire warden looks after all elements of fire safety in the workplace, including the emergency plan, fire drills, risk management, etc.

How do you become a fire warden?

Businesses usually ask for volunteers to be fire wardens and basic training is usually then provided at an official fire service training centre in the form of a one-day course.

Click here to visit our full FAQ Hub

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Author: Virtual College

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