Fire incidents are rare. But if they happen, being prepared is key to ensuring safety. Fire wardens play a crucial role in this area, helping protect occupants and enabling a safe evacuation process should a fire occur.
This blog explores the role of a fire warden, how it differs from that of a fire marshal and training programmes that empower fire wardens to fulfil their duties effectively.
What is a Fire Warden?
Fire wardens are appointed to support fire safety in the workplace. Their primary responsibility is to lead safe evacuations should a fire happen, although most wardens also take on more general fire prevention duties.
What is The Difference Between a Fire Warden and a Fire Marshal?
The terms fire warden and fire marshal are frequently used interchangeably, and there’s no official distinction between them. However, it’s common for employers to expect wardens and marshals to take on different responsibilities.
A fire warden focuses on immediate evacuation and ensuring everyone is out of the building safely during an emergency. Fire marshals typically have additional responsibilities, including fire prevention duties and supporting compliance with fire safety regulations. This separation of roles isn’t always consistent, however.
Daily Fire Warden Responsibilities
Typical daily fire warden responsibilities include:
- Checking fire alarms, firefighting equipment, emergency exits and fire doors for proper functionality
- Testing emergency lighting to ensure they are operational in case of a power failure
- Ensuring adequate and visible fire safety signage throughout the premises
- Conducting periodic fire risk assessments to identify potential hazards and assess overall fire safety preparedness
- Regularly updating risk assessments and implementing necessary fire prevention measures
- Keeping evacuation routes clear of any obstructions to facilitate swift and safe evacuations
- Properly disposing of any flammable materials to minimise fire risks
- Organising regular fire drills to ensure that occupants are familiar with evacuation procedures
- Developing and reviewing evacuation routes and making necessary adjustments to enhance efficiency
- Identifying and communicating designated assembly points for individuals to gather safely after evacuating the premises
- Training new employees on fire safety, familiarising them with protocols and procedures
- Running refresher safety training courses for existing staff to reinforce their knowledge
- Ensuring all electrical systems adhere to fire safety regulations
- Maintaining records of all fire safety measures and procedures
Role of a Fire Warden During a Fire Emergency
In case of a fire emergency, the role of a fire warden is to:
- Initiate the fire alarm
- Notify the authorities
- Close fire doors and doors to fireproof areas
- Evacuate all staff from the building
- Assist vulnerable individuals during evacuation
- Ensure all staff are evacuated and present at assembly points
- Communicate and coordinate with emergency responders
- Use fire fighting equipment if it is safe to do so to prevent the fire from spreading
What Training Programmes Are Recommended for Fire Wardens?
- Fire Awareness Course: A fire awareness course covers the fundamentals of fire safety, including occupational fire risks and safety measures that control them. It also teaches how to use firefighting equipment and proper evacuation procedures.
- Fire Risk Assessment Training: The fire risk assessment training course equips fire wardens with the skills to assess and identify potential fire risks in the workplace, enabling them to implement preventive measures.
- Fire Safety Inspection Training: Fire safety inspection training provides fire wardens with skills to conduct thorough fire safety inspections to identify and rectify potential hazards proactively.
- Fire Warden Course: A fire warden course gives wardens an in-depth understanding of their roles and responsibilities. The course develops awareness of how fires start, fire prevention methods, safe firefighting techniques and principles of safe evacuation.
The role of a fire warden is crucial for workplace safety during fire emergencies. Investing in training programmes equips fire wardens with the knowledge and skills needed to assess, mitigate and respond to fire risks in the workplace.