Workplace fire safety and understanding what does a fire warden do
What is the main responsibility of a fire warden?
Fire wardens have several responsibilities that are both proactive and reactive. The proactive aspect of their role involves carrying out tasks that help reduce the risk of fires breaking out. The reactive aspect includes all the measures that they need to undertake once there is a fire emergency. Let’s take a look at these in more detail:
- Proactive responsibilities can include: Helping with creating emergency plans, arranging fire drills, carrying out routine inspections and risk assessments and testing equipment, ensuring hazardous chemicals and substances are stored safely and securely, and keeping fire exits free from obstruction.
- Reactive responsibilities can include: Raising fire alarms and contacting emergency services, helping with evacuating staff members, deploying fire fighting equipment (such as fire extinguishers), administering first aid, and accounting for all staff members at the designated assembly area.
In the event of an emergency, the panic experienced by those present can leave them feeling confused and unsure of what to do and when. The knowledge and skills of fire wardens during that critical time help navigate a fire emergency successfully. This helps save lives, and prevent worse injuries and further destruction.
What does fire warden training entail
A fire warden course is focused on life safety and the evacuation of people in emergency situations. These courses combine theory and practice and can be completed within a few hours in a single day. The course outline addresses a variety of critical topics, some of which include:
- Legal and regulatory requirements according to Australian Standards
- Emergency planning, control and evacuation
- Warden identification, procedures, structure and responsibilities
- Human behaviour and persons with disabilities
- Building fire safety and development of evacuation plans
- Raising the alarm and investigating the incident
- Post-evacuation activities and procedures
Fire safety specialists, such as CMG Fire and Safety Services, offer both nationally accredited and non-accredited fire training courses. Courses can also be combined to ensure maximum understanding and upskilling of participants.
How long does fire warden training last?
Once training is complete and a certificate is awarded, training needs to be refreshed every two years under the relevant Australian Standards.
Do you need a fire warden at work?
It is a legal requirement to have an emergency plan in preparation for an accident or unfortunate event, but no law specifically states a business needs to have a dedicated fire warden for fire emergencies. However, this does not mean that a fire warden is not needed.
As with all types of plans that prepare for risk, they can only work when relevant duties are delegated to specific persons. A fire safety plan is no different–during a fire emergency, the safety of employees and occupants is the priority so it makes the most sense to have a fire warden who is fully aware of what needs to be done to lead the way.
Not having a fire warden can also be a huge risk to the business itself, in that it can increase the risk of court action, possible penalties and insurance trouble. For everybody’s safety and peace of mind, it’s best to appoint a fire warden in the workplace.
In fact, it can be beneficial to have more than one fire warden. If there are multiple floors in the building and especially in cases where there are high-risk occupants, having several fire wardens can become necessary. It also makes it possible for them to stand in and cover for each other while the other is on leave or absent on the day of an emergency.
What is a chief fire warden?
A chief fire warden is the lead point of contact for all fire wardens in the case of an emergency. They are responsible for leading the preparation of workplace emergency procedures, from the time the alarm is given through to the arrival of emergency services and until it’s safe for occupants to re-enter the building.
Chief fire wardens have a broad range of responsibilities, which are similar to and overlap with fire warden duties, plus an additional set of responsibilities unique to their role. These can include:
- Determining appropriate response procedures to be carried out in the event of an emergency
- Compiling and distributing relevant emergency information, including the details of fire alarm systems, warning systems and emergency procedures to all wardens and building occupants
- Organising and displaying evacuation plans
- Making building occupants aware of all wardens, their contact details and their location in the building
- Conducting training and organising training for new fire wardens
A chief fire warden training course needs to be completed in preparation to fulfil this role.
Opt for training directly from the fire safety experts
A fire warden’s duties play a key role in ensuring a watertight fire safety emergency plan in the workplace. Through relevant training, fire wardens can be proactive and reactive in appropriately dealing with fire risks and emergencies. CMG Fire and Safety Services offers training for fire wardens, and OH&S services and can compile evacuation diagrams in Perth among a host of other services in accordance with Australian Standards. Contact us on 1300 355 686 today for practical fire safety solutions for your business.