What is a Fire Warden and why does my business need one?
A key element of a commercial property’s fire safety protocol is having a fire warden in place, who can take responsibility during an emergency and ensure all the necessary fire safety precautions are being taken.
The chances are that many of you have seen fire wardens in your own place of work, usually coordinating drills. In this article, we’ll explain the responsibilities of a fire warden, and why they’re so important in keeping a property safe.
What is a Fire Warden?
Before we go into detail on what they do, it’s important to understand what a fire warden actually is.
A fire warden can be any employee in the company over the age of 16 who has volunteered to oversee key fire safety preparations. This includes checking alarm systems, fire extinguishers, fire blankets and other safety equipment, as well as helping their fellow employees safely and quickly evacuate in the event a fire does break out.
In order to become a fire warden, individuals are required to carry out a wide range of fire safety training. This includes learning about:
- How fires are caused in the workplace
- Understanding the fire triangle
- How different types of fire behave
- The different types of fire extinguishers and when to use them
- Fire safety signage
- How to use fire extinguishers
This is not an exhaustive list, and the role of the fire warden is an extensive one as they become the first point of contact in an emergency.
What Are The Responsibilities of a Fire Warden?
A fire warden’s responsibilities fall into two categories. Firstly, there are proactive responsibilities. These are measures that are designed to prevent a fire from occurring by checking and maintaining safety protocols. This includes day-to-day responsibilities such as keeping fire exits free from obstructions, regularly testing fire alarms, making sure electrical items are being used properly and safely, and keeping all fire safety related admin in check.
As well as these preventative measures, fire wardens are also who people turn to if a fire does break out. In the rare event a real fire occurs on the property, a warden must alert all employees, oversee a safe and swift evacuation of all in the building, make sure everyone has left the building, help those who may need assistance leaving (such as staff with mobility or visual disabilities), ensure all fire doors are properly closed and carry out a register to make sure everyone is accounted for.
These emergency procedures are part of the fire safety training that wardens will be given, and they may also conduct regular drills to make sure they know how to handle a real emergency.
How Many Fire Wardens Do I Need?
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, 2005 (FSO) articles 13, 15 and 18, it states that a fire warden must select one or more competent persons to assist them with their duties. Together, this team of fire marshals will undertake all the necessary preventative fire safety measures, safeguarding your business and everyone who works within it.
A company should always have at least one officially qualified fire warden in place, but can elect anyone else they deem competent to help them with tackling fire safety measures.
At Cheshire Fire, we provide fire safety training to businesses throughout Chester, Warrington and beyond. All of our training is conducted to the highest possible standard and includes evacuation protocols, live demonstrations and teaching on how to properly operate fire extinguishers. All designed to keep you and your employees safe, get in touch with our team now to learn more.