leadership-amongst-fire-wardens-chiefIn any organisation, preparation for an emergency is of paramount importance. This is because different types of emergencies occur daily affecting workplaces and leaving behind casualties. So let’s consider the best leadership style in an emergency situation.

That is why there are Laws and Regulations in each country that make sure that every organisation comes up with an emergency plan to help in preparing and acting upon an emergency.

Emergency plans entail a detailed guide of dealing with the common emergencies in and around the workplace and the personnel to act as leaders and their specific roles. Among these leaders are the chief fire wardens.

 Who is chief fire warden and best leadership style in an emergency situation?

As the name suggests, a chief fire warden is trained personnel that is in charge of dealing with an emergency from the moment the alarm is rung to the moment the building/business premises are safe for occupation. We refer to chief fire wardens as professionals because they are trained to do what they do.


The training topics of chief fire wardens include:
Their roles and responsibilities in the implementation of the emergency plan. Recordkeeping.
 Coordination of evacuation activities.  Liaison with fire emergency services.
Implementation of the post-emergency activities as guided by the emergency plan.


Training is what gives professionals the ability to choose. Then lead and train the personnel to be assigned duties under the chief fire warden. This means that the chief fire warden is in charge of any fire-related emergency recovery process.

Leadership during a workplace emergency.

According to the Emergency plan, when an emergency occurs in an organisation, the chief fire warden takes charge with the selected team to minimize the effects of the emergency. What selected team are we talking about?

The chief fire warden appoints various personnel from the employees to fill the following vacancies;

  •       Elevator/Stairway monitors.
  •       Floor wardens.
  •       Best Leadership Style in Emergency Situation
  •       Searchers.
  •       Communicator.
  •       Drill evaluator.

Apart from appointing the above people, the fire warden must also train them on their various roles and responsibilities. This is to make sure that when they are called upon during a fire emergency. They understand their responsibilities and duties clearly for the smooth coordination of the emergency plan implementation.

Moreover, as part of being prepared for fire-related emergencies, the chief fire warden has to carry out regular refresher training with his/her team to make sure that they are always equipped with the right information to handle an emergency.

The fire warden must also identify and maintain a full list of all the people in that organisation, including the disabled. This is meant to ensure that during an evacuation, they can easily tell the number of employees that may be stuck in the building by the headcount at the fire assembly point.

 Decision making during a fire emergency.

After the alarm goes off after a fire outbreak, there is always panic in the workplace. In most cases, if the panic in the building is not handled, it results in more casualties. This is because the people in the building will act without the proper knowledge of the emergency.

The chief fire warden is therefore supposed to apply his/her observation and analytical skills to tell the size of the fire, cause of the fire, direction of the spread of fire, the best routes for evacuation, nearest fire emergency services to call upon, potential dangers etc. This is the data that enables them to give the other trained personnel, such as the floor wardens decisive information on how to carry on the fire emergency response and recovery.

Remember, in the emergency plan; there is a list of contacts of each and every relevant units to call in during a fire emergency. This includes the local police, emergency services and medical services. These are the units to help with the advanced part of combating the fire.

Since the chief fire warden has to try and control the situation when all occupants of the building are evacuated. They have to make sure that all fire extinguishing and protection equipment are readily accessible.


For the chief fire warden to perform the above duties, they have to have a specific set of skills.

 Qualities of a competent fire warden.

When an employer is accomplishing or complying with the emergency plan. It’s important an employer appoints a fire warden to be trained in preparedness for a fire emergency. However, there are those specific skills they look for in a chief fire warden. They include;

  •  Grace under pressure: There is always panic when there is a fire outbreak at the workplace. An employer wants a fire warden that can absorb the shock and act with urgency to the situation with a clear and rational mind.
  •  Intelligence: A fire warden must be intelligent enough to observe, analyse and make the right decisions regarding emergency response and recovery.
  • Keen to details: In a fire emergency, a fire warden has to be very paranoid and keen to those small details. This is because a simple mistake of omission can turn out to be dangerous.

Finally, during the appointment of a chief fire warden, there is the consideration of his availability. That is why an organisation has also to appoint the deputy fire warden to help the chief fire warden and act on his/her behalf if an emergency occurs in their absence.

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By Ken Walker

Hi, I'm Ken. I am the owner and senior director of Syncretic training Group Pty Ltd. If you have any questions about the website content or require guidance please let us know we are always happy to help.

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