Fire wardens are a crucial part of your emergency management plan to ensure your workplace and staff remain as safe as possible in an emergency.
They form an important section of your Emergency Control Organisation, and you’re required to appoint fire wardens and a chief warden as per your obligations under the AS 3745-2010.
You need to choose employees who can handle the huge responsibility that comes with being a fire safety officer, but there’s more to it than you think.
This blog will explore just what fire safety officers are responsible for, and why training should be a non-negotiable.
Duties and responsibilities of fire wardens
Fire wardens have a range of tasks they must be ready to perform at all times:
- Help implement (and improve) workplace emergency procedures
- Monitor how adequate the fire risk control measures are to assist in preventing emergencies
- Make other staff aware of fire hazard in the workplace
- Direct others in an emergency – show how and where to safely evacuate, and clear their designated area
- Lead evacuation procedures and fire drills
- Account for all staff in an evacuation – check bathrooms, etc. while leaving to ensure that nobody is left behind, and check all staff are at the evacuation point.
- Assist anyone in the workplace who needs help in an emergency, such as helping visually-impaired co-workers
- Regularly check fire exits to ensure they remain clear
The extra responsibilities of the Chief Fire Warden
When the Chief Warden has been made aware of an emergency, they must analyse the emergency and determine which workplace emergency procedures should be initiated.
They are responsible for:
- Notifying emergency services, or ensuring they’ve been notified
- Communicating the situation to the other fire wardens
- Advise to begin evacuation, and which evacuation procedure should be followed
- Inform emergency services of the situation and measures taken when they arrive, and follow the instructions given
The Chief Warden has a duty to take command of everyone within the building in an emergency, from the moment the alarm is raised, until they’re advised that the building is safe to re-enter.
This means they also must ensure that all instructions from emergency services personnel are followed by everyone who evacuated.
The senior official from the emergency services that arrive on site will ultimately be responsible for containing the emergency itself, but the Chief Warden cannot let their leadership and guidance lapse as they are still responsible for their co-workers and anyone else who was evacuated.
Other duties the Chief Warden has to undertake include:
- Arranging someone to cover them if they are ever unavailable
- The organisation and distribution of emergency information to other wardens and all other people in the building, which includes information about emergency procedures, the fire alarms and emergency warning systems
- Arranging the development and installation of evacuation plans and diagrams in each zone or on each floor
- The distribution and maintenance of a contact list for all fire wardens/fire safety officers
- Performing training (or organising training) for any new wardens
The duties and responsibilities of fire wardens in the workplace cannot be understated; they are the ones who help develop and implement workplace emergency procedures and direct everyone in your building in the event of an emergency.
In the case of a fire, quick thinking saves lives – and who would you trust to keep you and your team safe?
An untrained staff member who simply held the title ‘Fire Warden’, or a staff member who had undergone comprehensive fire warden training (and would have regular refresher training too)?
Chief Fire Warden training is especially vital, because of the extra responsibilities they have on top of regular fire warden duties.
Don’t leave your workplace vulnerable; organise fire warden training for your staff who are capable and willing to take on the role.
Organise Emergency Response Training for all staff or residents in your facility, not just the safety officers, and ensure that everyone in the building understands how to correctly respond to an emergency.
To organise Fire Warden or Emergency Response Training to prepare your workplace for emergencies, talk to us today.