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The Responsibilities Of A Fire Warden During An Evacuation

Jul 3, 2008
Companies and businesses now have a legal responsibility to ensure a competent person is on site at all times should a fire happen to break out. A competent person is also termed as a fire warden, that is; a person who has had sufficient training to ensure the safety of staff members and anyone else who may be on the premises.

The fire warden must have an understanding of the risks of fire on any part of the premises and actions to follow in the event of a fire. In addition they should also have had enough training to competently use the fire fighting equipment on the premises. But what are the responsibilities and duties of the legally required warden in a business or residential property? The following information attempts to clarify this issue.

The warden's training comes in most useful once a fire has been started. In accordance with law there are a number of predefined jobs that they must fulfil to ensure people's safety. One of the most important tasks of the warden that they will have instilled in them during training is that during their exit they must ensure that the fire doors are shut behind them. This prevents the spreading of smoke and gives other people in the building a safer exit.

In residential areas the warden must also knock on resident's doors and ensure they are aware of the fire; while it may not always be possible to convince them to leave their homes, it is a vital constituent of the training that wardens are aware of the necessity to take not of the location of anyone left in the building.

In addition to these responsibilities the fire warden is entrusted with the duty to help any disabled people on the premises with exiting the building. Once again however if it is not possible to remove any disabled persons it is essential to inform the fire service of the whereabouts of any of these vulnerable persons. It is not just disabled persons that are classified as vulnerable, the elderly also fall into this category and should be given as much importance as the disabled. The warden's training should also make them aware that in the event of a fire the elevators in tall buildings should never be used, the stairs are the best way to exit, even if assisting the disabled and elderly.

Once the warden has managed to evacuate the building to the best of their ability they will have to congregate them in the fire assembly point. This area will have been defined by the legally required fire risk assessment and should be clearly marked. Normally it must be at least one hundred feet away to avoid the dangers of falling objects or even explosions. Once the residents or members of staff are in this area, it is the warden's responsibility to converse with the fire service's representative on their arrival, ensuring they are fully informed of any people remaining in the building, and other issues they should be aware of.

Through effective training the fire warden should have the knowledge to perform this task efficiently, minimising the risk to anyone inside the building. Being a fire warden takes a great deal of responsibility and should always be taken seriously; after all, the people in any premises are dependent upon the speedy and rapid evacuation in the event of a blaze. By being thorough a warden can reduce the instances of injury and death and make the job easier for the professionals once they arrive.
About the Author
Safety expert Thomas Pretty looks into how fire warden training can help in the evacuation of buildings.
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