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Fire Wardens play an essential role in the management of fire safety within the workplace but what exactly is expected of you should you be appointed as a Warden? And how can employers ensure that their workplace’s Warden is trained to carry out their duties safely and proficiently?
Under the Fire Safety Order 2005 the person with overall responsibility for fire safety in the workplace is known as the ‘Responsible Person’. However, part of the Responsible Person’s role is to appoint one or more competent persons – known as a Fire Warden or a Fire Marshal - to assist with general fire safety and in the event of an evacuation of the building.
The role of a Fire Warden
The role of a Fire Warden is to be both proactive and reactive in fire safety.
The proactive part of the role includes regularly carrying out and reviewing risk assessments, actively monitoring protection measures and equipment, ensuring firefighting equipment and fire doors are in good working condition, and checking that all means of escape remain unobstructed. The Warden should also ensure that people in the building are aware of the fire and evacuation procedures – and the means of raising the alarm – as well as undertaking the induction of new employees to the fire safety and evacuation procedures.
However, a Fire Warden should also be able to react by implementing the fire safety plans when emergencies occur, ensuring that the building is cleared and helping employees, visitors and any people with disabilities get to places of safety if a fire breaks out. The Warden must also check that the alarm has been raised by somebody and check that any machinery has been made safe before going to the relevant assembly point to carry out the roll call procedure. The Fire Warden is also responsible for ensuring that no one re-enters the building until it has been deemed safe to do so.
Fire safety training for Fire Wardens
It is up to the Responsible Person - an employer, landlord or building owner - to ensure that the Fire Warden is appropriately trained and competent to carry out the role. As a competent person, they may also be given practical training in the use of portable fire extinguishers to fight the fire with if is safe to do so and company policy allows.
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