During a fire, things can get chaotic pretty fast. Some staff and clients may freeze. Others will go hysterical. There’ll be pandemonium as fight or flight responses kick in – and both lives and property will be on the line. In that moment, the fire warden will be one of the most vital people on the premises.
Who Is A Fire Warden?
This is an employee who’s tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the rest of the staff and customers on the premises in the event of a fire. Their roles can be broken down into two categories:
To prevent fires from occurring in the first place, the wardens:
- Promote fire safety by ensuring staff and other persons in the building are aware of fire hazards around them
- Carry out fire drills and simulate evacuations to prepare the building’s occupants on the procedures to follow in the event of an emergency
- Ensure proper storage of flammable materials
- Assess risk levels and review the success of control measures put in place
In addition, the fire wardens should be well versed with the entire layout of the building or floor that they have been designated to, especially where the emergency exits are located, as well as fire fighting and communications equipment. They are also tasked with ensuring the equipment is in proper working condition, and that the exits remain easily accessible.
Reactions during actual fire emergencies
When a fire breaks out, the warden is the de facto leader. There’s a lot of responsibility on their shoulders, including:
- Directing everyone out of the building through the designated exit routes, and assisting those who are mobility-impaired to safely evacuate the premises.
- Operate the fire-fighting gear, such as the fire extinguishers or hose reels and fire blankets – but only if their personal safety is not at a high risk and there is a chance of putting out the fire before it spreads.
- Carrying out a methodical sweep of the building to ensure no one has been left behind
- Performing headcounts of those gathered at the fire assembly point
- Controlling the crowd and restoring calm, to keep the people off the premises until the emergency response team arrives.
- Providing the emergency team information about where people may still be trapped in the building, as well as briefing them on the cause of the fire and where it began.
Get Professional Fire Warden Training
Taking on this leadership role in the middle of a crisis is no mean feat. It’s a high-involvement activity that demands the individual remains cool under pressure. Lives are at stake, and the wardens need to be resourceful. Equip them with the skills needed with AMSL’s Staff Fire Warden training, where it only takes half a day.