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Fire Training; An Essential Managerial Responsibility

Aug 4, 2008
Business managers today must cope with the headache of liability and legal regulations concerned with fire safety procedures and action plans. As a result of current legislation, ensuring staff members have had adequate training to ensure they know what to do in the event of a fire is an essential managerial responsibility. Training is so vital because the effects of a fire can be disastrous; not only to business assets but more importantly to the lives of workers. Training has a two fold approach however, purely focussing on what to do in the event of a fire is ill advisable, fundamentally managers need to train staff so they recognise the ways to prevent fires.

Many people die each year in fires on work premises; this is why government legislation has worked hard towards increasing training and knowledge of fire prevention and emergency procedures. On most company premises it is the responsibility of the management to ensure that training is suitably pursued for all staff members. Managers never want the death of a worker on their conscience so by giving staff members knowledge, the conscience is somewhat sated on the part of the manager.

It is not just loss of life that can be considered one of the biggest risks of fire. Damage caused can seriously harm the financial position of a company. The loss of business assets even with insurance can be costly. In addition the time lost in operation while a new premises is found or an existing premises is repaired can be an extremely costly for a company. Thankfully by training staff members on ways to reduce the chances of fire, protecting business assets is made that much easier.

Knowledge of the three elements that create a blaze is a fundamental part of all courses. These three elements are fuel, ignition and oxygen; keeping these elements separate is essential. While most companies will find it hard to keep the third element, oxygen, out of the equation the other two can be controlled. Fuel is anything that can feed a fire, from paper and wood to soft furnishings. Ensuring these are kept in a safe place and are stored in such a way as not to present a hazard is vital. The final part of the equation, the ignition source can refer to anything from a cigarette end to a faulty electronic device. To reduce chances of ignition it is vital to make sure cigarette ends have a designated place to be extinguished and all electronic equipment is in good working order; ultimately effective housekeeping procedures will reduce the chances of ignition.

Training only forms a small part of the legally required fire risk assessment. This assessment takes into account all of the materials and areas that can be considered a risk. Ultimately the purpose of this assessment is to put in place procedures that make a workplace safer. As well as giving an idea of preventative measures a key element of the risk assessment is to ensure staff members understand their roles in the event of a fire, at the lowest level this includes shutting fire doors on the way out, at the highest are the responsibilities of the fire warden that include noting the severity of the fire and ensuring complete evacuation of the building.

Today as a business manager you have no choice but to pursue a training course for staff members that ensures their safety. Legally it is a necessity but for the sake and conscience and financial common sense it is an advisable course of action to follow.
About the Author
Regulatory compliance expert Thomas Pretty looks into how effective fire training can help secure business assets and increase the safety of workers.
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