Fire Warden Responsibilities Explained
A fire warden is an essential requirement in all workplaces and commercial buildings, so you’ll probably have come across the title before. Their role is pivotal in protecting both property and people from the devastating effects of a fire, but you may be unfamiliar with just what this job entails.
So, what exactly is a fire warden? And what are their main responsibilities? The team at LW Safety is here to answer all of your questions with this comprehensive guide.
What is a fire warden?
Every non-domestic building must have a designated ‘responsible person’ for the premises. This can be a building manager, landlord or supervisor if the property is a workplace. It is their job to ensure that the building is completely fire-safe and compliant with all regulations, and they must appoint fire wardens to help them with this task. All fire wardens must undergo fire warden training to ensure they are familiar with their role and are aware of any potential hazards in the building.
Whilst you may assume that the job of a fire warden only kicks in during a fire, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sometimes referred to as fire marshals, fire wardens play a vital role in the day-to-day management of the building and their responsibilities can typically be divided into two categories: routine and emergency.
What are the routine responsibilities of a fire warden?
- Complete regular inspections of fire doors, fire alarms, fire extinguishers and all other fire safety equipment to make sure they remain in good working order
- Ensure fire doors are kept shut and exit routes remain clear of obstructions
- Perform periodic fire drills throughout the year to test both the fire alarms and the emergency preparedness of staff
- Test emergency lighting once a month
- Ensure all hazardous materials are stored correctly and kept well away from any potential ignition sources
- Check that all fire safety signage is in the correct place and clearly visible
- Assist the designated ‘responsible person’ in establishing a PEEP (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan) for any building occupants with limited mobility and nominate individuals to help facilitate these plans
- Ensure all electrical equipment is PAT-tested
- Record any fire safety procedures enacted
- Assist the designated ‘responsible person’ in arranging for an annual fire risk assessment to be carried out
What are the emergency responsibilities of a fire warden?
During an emergency, a fire warden becomes a crucial figure and they must take on the following duties:
- Activate the fire alarm system.
- Alert and coordinate with the emergency services.
- Make sure all fire doors are closed to prevent the spread of fire.
- Direct everyone to the nearest evacuation route.
- Assist with the evacuation of any vulnerable people.
- Carry out a head count to ensure everyone is accounted for.
- If safe to do so, perform a sweep of the building to make certain everyone has left the premises.
Is a fire warden legally required?
Yes, a fire warden is legally required in every workplace under the terms of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The amount of fire wardens needed can vary depending on the size, layout and nature of your building. Whilst there is no set number that must be present, fire safety guidelines recommend:
- In low-risk workplaces: One trained fire warden per 50 employees
- In medium-risk workplaces: One trained fire warden per 20 employees
- In high-risk workplaces: One trained fire warden per 15 employees
Failure to comply with this legislation can result in severe financial penalties, or even a custodial sentence in case of extreme negligence.
How often should fire warden training be conducted?
Whilst fire warden certificates don’t expire after a set period, it’s common sense to have a refresher session every so often. It’s generally recommended that all fire wardens undergo fire safety training annually, or whenever there are changes to your premises.
What is covered in fire warden training?
When you choose a trusted fire safety expert, like LW Safety, to carry out your fire warden training, you can expect a comprehensive course that covers all aspects of fire safety, including:
- Up-to-date information regarding UK fire safety law.
- Fire awareness, including the causes of a fire and exit/e.scape strategies.
- The role and responsibilities of a fire warden.
- Advice on maintaining fire safety standards.
- How to use firefighting equipment, such as fire extinguishers.
If you’d like to ensure that your fire wardens are fully aware of their responsibilities, the team at LW Safety can help. We’re passionate about ensuring your workplace is as safe as can be and provide comprehensive fire warden training to businesses throughout Wembley, Harrow, Uxbridge and beyond.