What is a fire warden?
A fire warden is a member of staff who has the responsibility to fulfill a certain role within the workplace, both to help prevent the likely hood of fire starting, and to ensure the safety of others should the worst happen. Normally you would have several people trained as fire wardens (or Fire Marshals) within your organisation, with the ratio normally being 1 Marshal to every 10 members of staff.
How do Fire Wardens help prevent the risk of fire?
As a fire marshal, you would be expected to carry out a number of periodic checks, and these checks are very important to help prevent or mitigate the risk of fire.
Daily fire safety checks
A daily check would normally consist of a brief walk around the site checking that;
- No fire safety equipment missing, and that any extinguishers in their correct position.
- No Fire doors have been propped open (normally with a fire extinguisher).
- The Fire Alarm system functioning properly (at the main Panel)
- No rubbish has been allowed to accumulate, and that access and egress routes are free from obstructions, along with any other fire safety issues that may arise.
The fire warden would then make notes of any short comings, record them in the fire log book, and report them to the relevant people (Normally their line manager).
In order to carry out their weekly checks the warden would normally have a checklist to guide them and to help them record their findings. Such lists are vital as they practically ensure that nothing is missed or over-looked. However, there is always the risk, as with any checklist, that they are filled in without the warden ever leaving the office.
In order to complete their weekly checks they would generally need to;
- Check the condition of the fire doors (normally a set percentage of the total in the building), including the condition of the intumescent strips and self-closing mechanisms.
- Check that the fire alarm system is functioning correctly, which would normally involve testing a different call point each week, looking for obvious signs of damage, and checking that the sounders are functioning properly
- Check that the emergency lighting is functioning correctly, and that any panic bolts, signage or other safety equipment is in good order
A fire warden would also need to participate in any fire drills that may take place, which would normally be carried out quarterly, and also possibly assist the fire alarm engineers to test any smoke detectors.
In some larger properties there may also be fire hydrants that would need testing, along with any wet or dry risers.
What is a fire warden’s role in the event of a fire?
In the event of a fire a fire warden’s role would be to help ensure that everyone who is in their designated area is able to leave safely, along with aiding anyone who may need help. They would also try to ensure that any fire doors and windows are shut, and that any sources of fuel (such as gas), has been isolated. During the evacuation they would also help to take a register of all staff members, and would also communicate any concerns that they may have to the fire brigade, along with any other important information.
What is Fire Warden/Marshal training?
Fire warden training normally involves a classroom based theory session of approximately 2 hours and also a practical session of about the same duration.
The theory would cover all of the above topics and is be delivered by an ex fire service officer or other suitably qualified person, with student numbers normally limited to about 12 or 15 people per group. Just like our First Aid Training, we make sure we use the professionals in their respective industries.
The practical session is where the fun begins, with students normally allowed to try out a few different types of fire extinguishers on a simulated live fire.
The simulated fire is normally a propane gas rig that propels gas into a fabricated steel mock-up of a computer monitor, waste paper bin, or other such item that may be found in the workplace, with the fire warden extinguishing it as the trainer gradually cuts of the gas supply.