Fire emergencies don’t come often for most workplaces. You may never have faced a fire at the workplace in your life. And the general feeling when it comes to insurance against natural disasters and accidental damage can be – ‘we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.’
But when there is a fire, the damage is unthinkable. Often, businesses aren’t prepared for the kind of damage that a fire leaves in its wake. Some small businesses are even willing to take great risks by not buying insurance.
If there’s one thing we can do to protect our business from fire, it’s to have a fire warden always keeping their eyes on it.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a multinational company or a small mom-and-pop store. You can benefit from fire warden training in Australia. There’s no law that forces you in Australia to have a fire warden on board. But if you don’t have one, you put the lives of your employees at risk. Your business can easily be held liable, and you may have problems with your insurance claims.
There are plenty of benefits of fire warden training for your workplace.
What Is A Fire Warden?
A fire warden is an employee who is trained in fire prevention plans and fire emergencies. Their job includes:
● Assessing the fire risks at your business premises
● Designing detailed emergency plans
● Scheduling fire drills
● Managing reports on insurance checks
● Routinely testing fire alarms, extinguishers, fire doors, emergency lighting etc.
● Making sure fire exits are obstruction-free
● Making sure routes to fire exits are always accessible and there’s adequate signage
● Designing hazard prevention practices
● General housekeeping, such as making sure fuel sources are kept apart from heat sources.
● Making sure all staff undergo fire training.
If you have a fire warden, your fire emergency response will be quicker and more effective. Your employees will have a single source to turn to for guidance. In case there’s a fire, the fire warden will:
● Raise the alarm
● Close all doors to contain the fire
● Call emergency services
● Activate extinguishers and other first response fire fighting equipment.
● Talk to and inform staff
● Help employees evacuate
● Administer first aid
● Check the premises
● Take a roll call of employees at the point of assembly
● Let everyone know when it’s safe to enter the workplace.
● Talk to the emergency response
● Produce an incident report
That’s a lot of work for an untrained employee. Any resources that you invest in a fire warden are not wasted. There are many reasons why it’s worth getting emergency fire warden training.
For Compliance With Regulations
You need to make sure your business is doing everything it needs to do for fire safety. This means complying with Section 43 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations. Businesses that don’t have an emergency plan according to the regulations are liable to fines ranging from $6000 (for individuals) to $30,000 (for corporate bodies.)
A fire warden is an integral part of the health and safety of your business, who can help with compliance. Their duties include coming up with a comprehensive emergency plan, maintaining it effectively at the workplace, and implementing it in an emergency. These are requirements of Section 43.
Many businesses who do their own disaster management think sign testing, regular evacuation drills and enough fire extinguishers around the premises is enough for fire protection. But there’s a lot more that can be done, that fire warden training can help with.
For instance, why are only less than 50% of employees confident about the evacuation action to take in the event of a fire?
Support for insurance
You may feel you already have property insurance that covers fire. But it’s not enough to just pay for coverage. Fire safety is taken seriously in Australia. And insurance companies feel better about protecting you if they know you’re doing the best you can to keep your premises safe from fire.
In fact, if you don’t have a fire warden, your insurer may well it as negligence and failure on your part to manage risks. This may lead to insurance claims delays and even invalidate your claims. Fire warden training in Australia is essential for businesses that have insurance.
Fire wardens help to protect workplaces against fire, not just act in an emergency. They do this by carrying out regular checks on equipment, fire alarms, extinguishers, signage, exit routes. They may test signage and alarms once a week. They may help carry out drills once a year. They may test the fire exits once a month.
They also ensure your business is free from hazardous situations and proximity of potentially dangerous materials, where necessary. Employees will feel reassured knowing there is someone who is constantly on guard against fire hazards and watching their backs.
Someone To Turn To In Emergencies
During an emergency, even employees who have been through a few fire drills may panic and have questions and concerns. The fire warden is a trained guide who can help manage an emergency better than disoriented and confused crowds. A fire warden has trained to react quickly and calmly, taking charge of emergency evacuations and ensuring the safety of everyone.
Training Your In-House Fire Warden With The Best Practices
Fire wardens carry a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. They need to be trained for the best practices in fire management. Emergency fire warden training from reputed consultants in Australia can help to ensure your employees’ safety and that of your business assets.
How many fire wardens you need will depend on a few different things, such as how large your premises are, how many staff use the premises and if there are at-risk people in the building. If your business operates on shifts, you’ll need to make sure there are enough fire wardens for each shift.
Fire wardens are trained not just to manage emergencies but also to prevent them. Businesses that have fire wardens on board can rest assured they are doing everything for fire protection and employee safety.