Whether it’s a business seminar, or simply a health and safety inspector visiting your business. You may ask, what are the fire warden training requirements in Victoria. The requirement for having fire wardens, now called emergency wardens, is a nationally (Australia Wide) legislated requirement under Australian health and safety acts & regulations.
Every business throughout Australia should have an emergency plan and an associated “Emergency Control Organisation (ECO)” (group of responders). With in this ECO there are a number of wardens including the chief warden. The size of your business will determine the number of personnel allocated to deal with emergencies prior to the emergency services arriving. For example a small cafe’ may have one trained person performing all of the roles, with another trained to cover leave cycles. Where a larger organisation may have many personnel within their ECO.
These members could include:
- A chief fire warden whose job it is to coordinate the ECO
- Deputy Chief Warden
- Communications Officer
- Area Warden (only required for very large facilities like main shopping centres)
- Floor warden
- First Aid Officer
The fire wardens and other responders take the lead during emergencies
The role of the ECO is to provide an emergency response and assistance to occupant prior to the emergency services arriving. Coordinating an evacuation or to shelter in place if required.
The document which provides general guidance for emergency planners is Australia Standard 3754 (AS3745). Note: there are other relevant standards for health care facilities etc (ie. AS4083).
The following table outlines the training requirement for fire wardens and other members of the ECO. There is also a duty of care for all employers/business owners to provide all employees/occupants, whether part of the ECO or not, information on what to do in an emergency.
In general a fire warden is required to do the following:
- Receive initial training to the national standard (by an accredited trainer) – this should also include first attack & fire extinguisher training
- Complete an in house activity every six months – this can include a table top exercise, walk around or other relevant training activity
- A facility is required to review the facility emergency plan and conduct an evacuation exercise every 12 months, which should include the participation of fire wardens and all employees
- First Attack training (fire extinguisher training) is required to be completed by an accredited trainer bi annually.
- It is recommended that fire wardens participate in accredited fire warden training every three years – similar to the first aid requirements.
|Initial Training||In House Activity||Qualified Trainer||Qualified Trainer||Recommended|
|National accreditation||6 monthly training activity||12 monthly training activity||2 yearly first attack training||3-year accreditation|
|PUAFER006 (Chief Warden)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|PUAFER008 (First Attack)||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes|
Australian Standard 3745-2010.
Let’s have a look at the table and what it does indicate. Most of the table entries are required under work health and safety legislation, which refers to the Australian Standard 3745-2010, as previously mentioned. Thus, indicating fire warden training requirements Victoria and other states throughout Australia and New Zealand. Many business owners often ask, what is the fire warden training Act. This is again a complex question but even so the Australian Standard 3745-2010 is where the appropriate information can be found in Australia.
One of the important factors in the initial accreditation. This sets the Emergency Control Organisation up to provide an effective response to emergencies prior to the emergency services arriving. Instructors have a responsibility to ensure that trainees are aware that such training is only the start of the confidence and competence building process.
To put this in perspective. Firefighters complete an 18 week recruit course before they are even allowed to sit in the back seat of a fire truck. Ambulance trainees have to complete a three year degree before they are even considered for a paramedic position.
So four hours of fire warden training will give the participant very basic skills. Generally designed, so they can provide a response to an emergency prior to the emergency services arriving.
Is accredited fire warden training the place to start.
The answer is yes. Due to the initial training is only four hours long. An accredited trainer who is very competent and experienced can provide valuable feedback to questions and essential guidance.
They can also provide managers with information on how to lead an Emergency Control Organisation. Often we look towards these managers to provide mentorship to general fire wardens. So their level of knowledge and experience must be very good.
There are a number of companies who provide chief fire warden training online, allowing them to maintain their skills to an adequate level. Chief and fire warden training cost can be quite economical online, but must be incorporated with face to face sessions regularly. This training works to increase confidence and competence in the trainee.
Fire extinguisher training Melbourne.
Whether you’re participating in fire warden training Perth or some other capital city around the country. Understanding the theory behind the use of a fire extinguisher and incorporating such knowledge into practical sessions is paramount.
The first time one uses a fire extinguisher should not be during an emergency. Fire Extinguisher training will incorporate other important practical sessions like how to use a chemical spill kit etc.
As indicated in the above table. Follow up fire extinguisher training should be conducted every two years after the initial training. Refresher training should always be the same or very similar to the initial training.
Often instructors will contextualize such training to your specific environment during refresher training. This allows wardens to further understand the potential risks and systems in place to deal with emergencies in a specific work environment (facility).
Emergency Planning in a Facility.
In Australian Standard 3745-2010 there are a number of sections that guide the business owner through the process of setting up an Emergency Control Organisation. It first starts with the Emergency planning committee (EPC), which is generally key members of the organisation and those employees who will be trained as the chief warden.
The chief is responsible for providing coordination and leadership during emergencies. The Standard talks about command and control but in reality the chief must provide effective leadership. Command and control will just be a form of coordination.
The emergency planning committee must always be given terms of reference from the owner of a business or his/her representative. Ideally if setting up an EPC and ECO an emergency planning specialist should be consulted to provide initial guidance so the structure can be determined in an appropriate way.
Even, health and safety specialists aren’t always familiar with emergency planning concepts. Emergency preparedness and response is complex and guidance should be sought by a qualified and experienced person.
Most emergency services require a minimum of five years experience before they place people in management positions. This should be similar when you are selecting an emergency planner.
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The emergency plan.
Most businesses will have a series of processes and systems in place to ensure they remain viable into the future. An emergency plan is simply a document that outlines processes and systems to do the same. Help guide the emergency control organisation when an emergency does occur. The emergency services use exactly the same processes and systems that guide responders through every aspect of emergency response.
One of the most important guidance documents when establishing or upgrading an emergency plan for your business. Is AS 3745-2010 – it is worth obtaining a copy.
As you have probably determined, fire warden training requirements Victoria and across Australia, are complex. There are a number of great documents and experienced people that can provide guidance in relation to emergency planning.
Training may be an important part of preparedness but adequate planning is where the whole process should start.