Accredited fire warden training and emergencies are an important consideration in any environment, be it residential or commercial. You may think that fires are quite rare in Australia these days. The truth is that they are still a painful reality, causing damage every year. The main consideration here is that a majority of businesses that experience fire damages take quite long to recover. Some even fail to recover fully and may even have to close up business. Therefore, emergency accredited fire warden training is a vital part of all organisations in Australia.
Throughout this article, we will refer to general fire emergencies. Even so, the information is relevant for almost any emergency performed by the fire warden. Furthermore, we have called the warden “fire wardens”, the correct term as per AS3745 is the emergency warden.
It’s important to try and avoid fire outbreaks and other emergencies, as well as manage emergencies effectively to prevent irreversible damage. You have to be as swift as possible in everything you do, from evacuation to notifying first responders. That’s where emergency fire wardens come in. These individuals are responsible for managing fire emergency situations in any business, to ensure fire safety.
Is there a difference between fire wardens and health and safety reps (HSR)?
In fire safety and general emergency preparedness, response and recovery. You may have heard the terms HSR and fire warden being used frequently. This often brings some confusion between the two names, and what they are all about. You may even start to wonder whether your company requires a fire warden, HSR, or both.
To set the record straight, there is no major difference between the roles played by fire wardens and HSR. The goal for both is to keep everyone in a given workplace safe. An organization, can, however, decide to appoint HSR and wardens and then assign different roles to each. However, this is where the similarity differs. Health and safety legislation identifies both roles as separate even though they have similar objectives.
In such a scenario, for example, fire wardens can be tasked with daily emergency management tasks, while HSR’s are assigned general safety roles. If, however, a business appoints either fire wardens or HSR’s, the appointed individuals will have to carry out both the daily and re-active emergency and safety roles.
Factors considered when appointing fire wardens
When appointing individuals for a fire warden role at your company. You may want to consider a variety of factors such as:
Fire wardens should be ready whenever needed. Such availability can only be achieved by appointing someone who is present throughout the normal working hours. This often means that a company will have to appoint a main fire warden in addition to one or two deputies to ensure coverage at all times. That’s in consideration that the main fire warden can at times be away on a leave.
Area of work
If the company is designed in such a way that there are different departments located in various parts of the building, it’s important to appoint emergency fire wardens in each part of the building. This brings in greater efficiency as far as responding to emergencies is concerned. You shouldn’t have appointees moving from one area of a building to the next (e.g. upstairs), as that brings in unnecessary risk to the wardens’ safety.
Willingness to serve
When appointing specific individuals for emergency fire warden roles in a company, it’s usually advisable to hire/appoint only the ones who are willing. As much as fire wardens are often rewarded by companies for their work, the employees should not think of the role as burdensome. They should feel that their input to the business is highly valued. The company’s management should make it clear that fire wardens contribute greatly to the company’s success. They can do so through a verbal acknowledgment or even better, notation in an employee’s file.
What roles are played by fire wardens?
You know by now that the roles played by emergency fire wardens to contributed to fire safety should not be taken lightly. These individuals go a long way not only in managing fire emergencies, but also minimizing the risks of a fire breakout. The duties and responsibilities of fire wardens can be broken down into two broad categories namely:
- Proactive day to day roles.
- Reactive duties for emergency situations.
The tasks that should be carried out by fire wardens may vary from one company to the other. This mostly depends on various factors such as the fire safety policy of the company, building usage, size and risk profile of the building, number of occupants in the building, and others. Nonetheless, here is a breakdown of the main roles of a fire warden in any company.
- Proactive day to day roles
The day to day duties of a fire warden in any business include.
Ensuring that escape routes are clear.
Fire exits and routes should be clear at all times, to avoid panic in the event of an emergency. Any items such as boxes, furniture, and others that can make prevent quick access to emergency exits should be removed and placed elsewhere.
Ensuring visibility of fire signs.
When people panic during an emergency, the results are more often fatal. Therefore, it’s the duty of a fire warden to ensure that crucial signs, such as the ones showing the direction to the fire exit are clearly visible.
Ensuring good condition of fire extinguishers.
Huge fires are often as a result of smaller fires that were quite hard to manage. That’s why equipment such as fire extinguishers should be kept ready for emergencies. The fire warden should ensure that all fire equipment is positioned in easy-to-access locations.
Verifying that valuable papers are secure.
Fire wardens are also often tasked with ensuring that every piece of paper that holds valuable, sensitive, or classified information is safe. The papers should be stored in a fire-proof place. So that they can be retrieved once the emergency services have successfully dealt with the fire.
Electrical safety checks.
It’s crucial to ensure that the wiring in a company is well done and in good condition at all times. In addition to ensuring that power outlets are not overloaded. This is in consideration that these two factors pose a major fire risk if ignored. Fire wardens should inspect electrical systems and report any unsafe wiring issues as soon as they identify them.
Testing fire detection and alarm systems.
Fire detection and alarm systems play a vital role in fire emergency situations. That’s why it’s important to ensure that all the alarm systems in the building as working as expected. Fire wardens should test these systems preferably once every week. The emergency lighting can be tested at least once every month.
Ensuring that general house-keeping is in order.
Fire wardens should also ensure that the building is in good order and lower the risk of fire. This involves things such as ensuring that rooms that have a fixed source of heat or ignition are not used to store any combustible material.
Fire doors checks.
Fire doors should be in good condition, to ensure that they can be used in case of an emergency. The fire warden can conduct weekly checks to ensure that the doors are easy to access and open.
Arranging fire drills.
Fire emergency drills are very important in any organization. As they ensure that employees know what to do in case of an emergency. Fire wardens contribute a lot in organizing such drills and ensuring that other employees participate for increased safety.
Control of flammable liquids.
If the company handles any flammable liquids. It’s vital to ensure that the rooms in which they are stored are checked from time to time. This lowers the risks of a fire outbreak as a result of things such as sparks. Fire wardens should see to it that there is a low likelihood of the flammable liquids catching fire.
Reactive duties for emergencies.
Even though fire wardens are mainly tasked with lowering the risks of a fire, they are also expected to react even when a fire occurs. In a reactive position, the roles of an emergency fire warden include the following:
Raising alarm/calling emergency services.
The most important thing to do in case of a fire emergency is to alert others about the situation. As such, the fire warden should activate the alarm systems if they have not been activated. As well as call emergency services. Timely notification goes a long way in salvaging as much as possible by putting out the fire early enough.
Facilitating safe evacuation .
After you or someone else has raised the alarm, it’s time to ensure that everyone leaves the area safely. A fire warden is expected to use a whistle or loudspeaker to ask everyone to leave as calmly as they possibly can. Leaving calmly is important as it helps to avoid the panic that may lead to problems such as unwanted injuries. A fire warden should also scout escape routes to ensure that they are clear before asking people to use them.
Offering help to anyone who needs it.
There are individuals who may not be in a position to evacuate from the building. Maybe because they have passed out as a result of panic, or maybe because they are disabled. The fire warden should see to it that such individuals are helped from the building and taken to safety.
Search the area.
Every emergency fire warden is tasked with sweeping through their allocated areas. This is to ensure that there is no one been left behind. This means checking in all areas, especially the isolated ones, where someone could be trapped.
During the evacuation process, fire wardens should do whatever they can to prevent the fire from worsening. One can starve the fire of oxygen, for example, by closing windows and doors. Closing the windows and doors also reduce the spread of smoke. If possible, the emergency fire warden should also try to locate the fire source to eliminate the fire.
Decide whether to fight the fire.
If the fire is not very large and can be stopped. Using various equipment such as fire extinguishers, the fire warden should try to tackle it. The most important thing to note in such situations is that one should only fight the types of fire they are knowledgeable about or have been trained to fight and is safe to do so.
Take part in roll call at the assembly point.
Fire wardens are also expected to take roll calls to ensure that everyone has safely left the building. They should also not go back inside the building or allow anyone else to do so. They should inform the emergency team if someone is unaccounted for.
Collaborate with others in charge of fire safety.
Fire wardens also have the role of working with other fire wardens. Also, emergency services for better management of the emergency. They are also tasked with providing complete information to the rescue team.
Do fire wardens require training?
The responsibilities of fire wardens are vital considering that their skills and abilities can result in the saving of life and property. Since emergency fire wardens are expected to handle serious fire safety tasks. It’s quite clear that they would benefit from formal preparation and accredited fire warden training by experts.
Training the fire wardens you’ve appointed in your organization goes a long way in helping them to correctly perform their roles. As outlined in Australian Standard 3745-2010. However, when looking for a good training program for the appointed fire wardens, ensure that the course is compliant to the Australian Standard 3745 – 2010.
Importance of accredited fire warden training.
Even though training to be a fire warden is not overly complicated. It has a very important role in ensuring that fire emergencies are effectively handled. The management in any company should acknowledge that proper training. All their emergency fire wardens go a long way in enhancing emergency preparedness.
Besides, proper training also helps the fire wardens to appreciate dire safety and also contribute a lot to emergency planning. Such training should be completed every two years. To ensure that the wardens have the skills and information. All required to preventing fire outbreaks as well as managing emergencies.
If possible, the training can be done every 12 months to ensure that the accredited fire warden training is up-to-date. With all regulatory and statutory changes related to their duties.
The Bottom line
In conclusion, considering that most businesses in Australia are exposed to factors that can easily lead to fire outbreaks or other emergencies. It’s clear that the accredited fire warden training plays a vital role to fire safety. Every industry management should make a point of appointing at least two wardens for every 20 occupants. Furthermore, appointing two wardens is beneficial as you still have someone to cover the roles even when your main fire warden is on leave.
Name: STG Fire Safety Training
Address: Scarborough Cresent Ballarat VIC 3350
Phone: (03) 9005 1767