Fire emergencies are preventable, that is what makes them so scary! Anyone who has been through a fire-related emergency probably knows how easily the situation goes out of hand. And how easy it was to prevent it in the first place! For a business owner, the situation can become volatile and loss to property or life can be devastating.
An emergency evacuation plan is a must for every business owner!
Every building owner is legally bound to work on an emergency evacuation plan, purchase preventive equipment and hire trained staff. Regulations and liability are a bit stricter when it comes to commercial properties, and so should it be. So, what is an emergency evacuation plan?
A good emergency plan is not just a theoretical one. It needs to be effective during the actual emergency. To get to a viable plan, a trained team and a chief fire warden, along with senior members of the staff need to sit together. A plan defines a set of procedures and systems that are well-defined and laid to who will do what, and who is the final authority when it comes to on-ground calls.
Besides, an organization needs to buy the necessary equipment like an alarm, extinguishers, and other safety equipment that the authorities deem to be fit. As prevention is the key, the preventive procedures, mock drills, regular checking and record-keeping also needs to be included in the plan. Hiring a fire warden, and training his/her team is quite an important decision that a company must make. Depending upon the number of floors, size of the building, risk assessment of that particular location, and other key factors, a business owner must choose a dependable bumber of people who are especially devoted and trained to handle emergency situations of a building.
Role of a fire warden is crucial:
When it comes to prevention of fire or any similar hazard, the role of a fire warden usually comes at the top of the list. Opening a new business is not just about assessing financial business risks. A smart businessman knows that he/she needs to get adequate emergency procedures and a fire warden who can handle the on-ground situation professionally. Otherwise, the loss of life or equipment or property can start a downward spiral for any business entity.
So, what does the role of fire warden encompass?
- Ensure regular practice of effective emergency procedures
- To keep a weekly check on working order of a fire alarm
- Ensure that fire extinguishers and other safety equipments are in working condition
- To keep a check on emergency exits at all times (obstruction free)
- Assure yearly fire training of staff and new recruits
- Maintaining records of safety procedures of a workplace
While maintenance of safety procedures is a key role of a warden, it is not his only job. A warden must be equipped with skills and trained to handle a potentially hazardous situation to the best of his abilities. Taking a fresher course in fire warden training once a year is quite essential to ensure that the person is skilled and trained to use modern equipment and procedures which are getting updated with technological innovations day by day. For example, when it comes to an emergency, the specified person must know all the exits and point the same to all the employees.
Similarly, and most importantly, the warden must make a roll call of all the employees including sanitary staff, and check all possible areas like bathrooms or conference rooms to assure that no one is unfortunately locked inside once the building is closed.
Key duties on-ground in case of a fire emergency:
- Raising the fire alarm
- Quick risk assessment and passing the action plan to the people down the ladder like other staff
- Assessing whether to use the extinguishers or wait for professional service men
- Taking a roll call of all employees including vulnerable employees
- Immediate contact with the emergency services
Are you legally bound to hire a fire warden?
Hiring a fire warden might not be strict legislation or compulsion. But under the Australian Standard 3745-2010 Planning for emergencies in facilities, an organization needs to appoint an emergency control team. In other words, every facility needs a person or a group of people, who can handle emergency response procedures to handle a fire, earthquake, or any other potentially dangerous situation.
Fire wardens have a specific set of duties and responsibilities that are important and need to be followed to the spirit of the letter. Like any other training, fire warden training programs and certifications are crucial and help a company to keep its emergency evacuation procedures and plans updated and smoothly functioning. Remember, in case of a fire or any other emergency, prevention and pre-preparation are detrimental to loss of life and property. A casual approach can cause undetermined damage to the company’s and your reputation!