Training qualifications and the activities facilitated by a trainer has never been so important. With the urban areas growing and more and more emergencies happening every day. As a matter of fact, there are a number of emergency workers responding to situations that are out of control, right at this moment in time.
Often training can be seen as simply something the employer wants you to do. Put in place, so work health and safety requirements are achieved. This may be true in many respects, but the main role of emergency training is to keep all occupants, whether employees or general public, safe from harm.
Historical emergency response
A few decades ago the emergency services throughout Australia became frustrated at the lack of coordination during emergencies. Specifically in the initial stages.
There was a real void between the incident happening and the emergency services arriving on scene. It may take five, ten, 15 minutes for specialist help to arrive and in that time the potential for life and property losses can be significant.
The introduction of Australian Standards
Before legislation and linked Australian Standards were changed or introduced. Often occupants would just deal with the situation in the best way they knew how. Which in many cases made the situation worse or put occupants in clear and present danger.
A little training can go a long way and help substantially with life safety. For example, there is a story of a little girl who learnt about the signs of a tsunami during a school project. When she noticed some of the signs, whilst on holidays, she informed her father who in turn took vital action. This small amount of knowledge helped save many lives at an Asian holiday resort.
The role and benefits of fire wardens
Fire Wardens are better known, these days, as emergency wardens. Why? They may have to deal with many and varied types of emergencies during their employment. Fire being just one type of emergency. The warden system or more formally known as the ”Emergency control organisation”, is set up with the primary goal of life safety. They may help to save property but that is just a side benefit for business.
Life safety is generally dealt with by moving occupant in a coordinated manner to a location that is safe. This area is often called many things but generally referred to as the assembly area in Australia.
The location of both primary and secondary assembly areas should be given a great deal of analysis before determining their location. Often a certified or qualified emergency consultant can liaise with wardens and business owners to provide a suitable area for the assembly area.
Some of the activities an emergency warden might complete
The following list of fire warden duties are simply the main activities and is not limited to these:Act as floor or area wardens.
- Operate the communication system(s) in place at a business.
- Check that any fire doors and smoke doors are properly closed.
- Operate Fire Extinguishers as required and safe to do so
- Close or open other doors in accordance with the emergency response procedures.
- Search the floor or area to ensure all people have evacuated. This function is of greater importance than a later physical count of those evacuated.
- Ensure orderly flow of people into protected areas, for example, stairways.
- Assist occupants with disabilities.
- Act as leader of groups moving to nominated assembly areas.
- Report status of required activities to the floor or area warden on their completion.
- And other tasks as directed by the Chief Warden
Training and the trainee
The structure of emergency service has evolved over many centuries via the military. Some fire, police and ambulance services around the world are still run by the military. That is not the case in Australia. Even so, the defence forces do have a limited amount of emergency personnel.
Up until the late 1990’s it could be said that many of the emergency services operated in a paramilitary manner. They use similar structures today, but are more related to established business protocols and planning these days.
An emergency warden can’t be expected to perform the exact same role as an emergency worker. Even so, there are many activities, that with a little training, can help prepare for the oncoming emergency personnel. Always with the goal of keeping those in your care safe.
Training needs to be ongoing
With associated costs being paid for by the business. In Australia we have a well established guide to ensure that the appropriate training goals are being achieved. That guide is Australian Standard 3745-2010 which is called up in work health and safety legislation making emergency management systems within a business essential.
Onsite and offsite training is only the start of a good system but embeds the knowledge requirements to act accordingly in an emergency.
Registered training organisations (RTO)
We are lucky in Australia having a government body who regulates the quality of skills being provided. They are known as the “Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)”, who register organisations to coordinate training using established industry guidelines.
The training facilitated by the RTO’s is recognised by industry as relevant for a given activity, generally within the workplace. Other factors like experience and ongoing training also for a part of the overall recognition of qualifications.
Should a business conduct non-accredited or nationally accredited training
This is really a no brainer. To ensure that training is being facilitated by a qualified and certified instructor, who knows what they are talking about, national accreditation is the only route to take for a given business.
To be accredited to provide emergency training there is a requirement to have Cert IV in Training and Assessment which is backed up by verified industry experience. If businesses use non accredited trainers there is going to be the possibility that preparations for emergency response will be inadequate.
The future of preparing for emergencies in a business
Safety has come a long way with the establishment of guidelines over many centuries. Often as a result of frustrations generated by poor performance in an industry.
Regulatory bodies will always be required to ensure checks and balances are enforced check off as current. Thus helping to keep every one safe during work and home life.