The Role of a Fire Warden

Fire Warden

Fire warden training forms a very important part of the recommended fire safety strategy in the workplace.

In fact, it is a legal requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 that all staff member in a business environment receive at least some form of basic training.

What is a Fire Warden?

A fire warden, (also known as a Fire Marshal) is a member of staff who has the responsibility to fulfill a certain role within the workplace, both to help prevent the likely hood of fire starting, and to ensure the safety of others should the worst happen.

Normally you would have several people trained as fire wardens (or Fire Marshals) within your organisation, with the ratio normally being 1 Marshall to every 10 members of staff.

How Do Fire Wardens Help Prevent the Risk of Fire?

As a fire warden, you would be expected to carry out a number of periodic checks, and these checks are very important to help prevent or mitigate the risk of fire.

Daily Fire Safety Checks

A daily check would normally consist of a brief walk around the site checking that;

  • No fire safety equipment missing, and that any extinguishers in their correct position.
  • No Fire doors have been propped open (normally with a fire extinguisher).
  • The Fire Alarm system functioning properly (at the main Panel)
  • No rubbish has been allowed to accumulate, and that access and egress routes are free from obstructions, along with any other fire safety issues that may arise.

The fire warden would then make notes of any short comings, record them in the fire log book, and report them to the relevant people (Normally their line manager).

Weekly Checks

In order to carry out their weekly checks the warden would normally have a checklist to guide them and to help them record their findings. Such lists are vital as they practically ensure that nothing is missed or over-looked.

However, there is always the risk, as with any checklist, that they are filled in without the warden ever leaving the office.

In order to complete their weekly checks they would generally need to;

  • Check the condition of the fire doors (normally a set percentage of the total in the building), including the condition of the intumescent strips and self-closing mechanisms.
  • Check that the fire alarm system is functioning correctly, which would normally involve testing a different call point each week, looking for obvious signs of damage, and checking that the sounders are functioning properly.
  • Check that the emergency lighting is functioning correctly, and that any panic bolts, signage or other safety equipment is in good order.

Other Duties

A fire warden would also need to participate in any fire drills that may take place, which would normally be carried out quarterly, and also possibly assist the fire alarm engineers to test any smoke detectors.

In some larger properties there may also be fire hydrants that would need testing, along with any wet or dry risers.

What is a Fire Warden’s Role in the Event of a Fire?

In the event of a fire a fire warden’s role may include:

  • Helping those on the premises to leave.
  • Checking the premises to ensure everyone has left.
  • Try to ensure that any fire doors and windows are shut.
  • Using firefighting equipment if safe to do so.
  • Shutting down vital or dangerous equipment and that any sources of fuel (such as gas), has been isolated.
  • Performing a supervisory/managing role in any fire situation.
  • Liaising with the fire and rescue service on arrival.

During the evacuation they would also help to take a register of all staff members, and would also communicate any concerns that they may have to the fire brigade, along with any other important information.

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