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Last updated: 15.08.19

What is the difference between a Fire Marshal and a Fire Warden?

Why are Fire Wardens and Marshals so important?

When a fire alarm goes off in the workplace, it’s important to get out quickly and efficiently. You will likely see some members of staff take charge and even potentially don high-vis jackets. This is because every workplace should have someone who is responsible in the event of a fire, but these responsible roles differ depending on site size.

If you have a small site then it is likely you will have a ‘Deputy’ who acts on behalf of the Fire Safety Manager who takes overall charge of the situation. This ‘Deputy’ combines the responsibilities of both Fire Marshal and Warden as the site is small enough where they can act as both roles. They will ensure that the building is evacuated promptly and that everyone is out of the building without putting themselves at risk.

If you have a larger site, then you will need to have separate Fire Marshals and Fire Wardens who will stick to their predefined responsibilities and make the situation more manageable with a bigger workforce to ensure the safety of.

Fire Warden

The first thing that needs to happen in the event of a fire is evacuation – this is the responsibility of the Fire Warden. They will be the person or persons responsible for searching the premises and ensuring that the whole building has been successfully evacuated. As they will be the last ones to leave the building, they will be assuming the most risk within a fire.

Fire Marshal

While a building is being evacuated, Fire Marshals will be going to the designated fire assembly point or points to handle the evacuation outside of the building, including taking a head count to ensure all employees are accounted for. They will keep employees at the fire assembly points until the evacuation has been completed and all employees have left the building, including the safety of all Fire Wardens.

Whatever roles your business has, you must remember that the staff fulfiling these roles must be competently trained, which includes understanding the UK fire law Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This lays out how businesses must comply with the law, including requiring them to carry out risk assessments and put adequate fire precautions in place.

If you need to provide internal fire safety training for your business, including Fire Marshal training and Fire Warden training for employees, then Virtual College have a range of e-learning courses which can give your staff the knowledge to be fully trained Fire Marshals or Fire Wardens for your building.

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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