Fire Warden Responsibility Guide
While smaller office premises might find one fire warden sufficient, it is still highly advisable to have at least one other member of staff undergo training in case the primary warden is unavailable or off work. Larger businesses should roughly work on a one-warden-per-20-people basis, in order to adequately protect all persons and areas within the building.
Who is Responsible?
The nominated ‘responsible person’, as specified in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, is in charge of ensuring that sufficient numbers of properly trained fire wardens are present within the workforce. Assigned wardens are then responsible for organising and monitoring fire drills, as well as taking action in the event of a genuine fire.
Many of the day-to-day duties of a fire warden could be considered as proactive – i.e. they revolve around preventing fires from occurring in the first place. The specific tasks will change from business to business, but there are a few universal obligations.
These include such tasks as keeping all emergency exit routes free from hazards and obstructions – one of the fire warden duties that can be missed if not made a part of a daily routine. Similarly, it is a fire warden’s responsibility to ensure that fire safety signage, indicating alarms, fire exits, call points and extinguishers are visible at all times.
Keeping the space clear of clutter, both inside and outside where rubbish may build up, is basic fire safety, as is ensuring that flammable materials and liquids are securely stored.
Fire drills are perhaps the most effective form of proactive fire safety that a warden can perform. Although not required every day, testing the alarms, evacuation procedure and assembly point suitability once a month will allow wardens to identify issues with the setup and rectify as necessary.
Although prevention is better than cause, accidents do happen. With this in mind, fire wardens will need to be trained in how to react in the event of a genuine fire.
Much of the reactive process can be practised and ironed out during fire drills, allowing wardens to be prepared in an emergency. However, actions such as using fire extinguishers and dealing with the emergency services cannot be simulated by a drill.
Upon evacuation, wardens should assist those less physically mobile, closing all fire doors and windows behind them in order to contain the blaze.
Reacting to an incomplete register (or “roll call”) at the assembly point will require training in order to apply the correct procedure, informing the emergency services of the names of those missing that might still be in the building.
Once the building has been given the all-clear (if it can be), fire wardens will need to perform an inspection to identify any possible sources reignition, as well as identifying the cause of the initial fire and rectifying it immediately. All findings should be recorded for reference.