Stories of providential escapes from fires at factories, night clubs, restaurants, high-rise office buildings appear in all too frequently in newspapers, the social media and television channels. The frightful frequency of such incidents is a glaring reminder of the fact that despite all care and prevention, fires do occur at workplaces.
More importantly, these fires also serve to remind us about the importance of having disaster management systems in place to prevent the destruction of life and property in case of these fires.
Planning and preparing for disasters is critical to ensure the safety of colleagues at the workplace. This helps businesses in various ways. Employees who feel safer have a higher morale and commitment towards work. Their performance will be better, resulting in improved productivity.
Selecting employees to undergo training as fire wardens is another way of increasing their commitment and loyalty towards the organisation and business. The trust placed in them makes these employees feel confident of their abilities. The belief that the system places in their competence is reciprocated by the employees with enhanced motivation, performance and productivity.
Have you put in place your plans for preventing, controlling and managing fire related accidents at your workplace? Trained fire wardens are essential to help you do that. Speak to a friendly representative at Alsco Managed Training, a certified training organisation. Call us now.
So what does a fire warden really do?
Each fire warden is assigned a specific area for which he or she is responsible in the event of a fire. A typical office is likely to have multiple fire wardens who cover the entire office.
The duties of a fire warden include systematically ushering people out of a building in the eventuality of a fire. A blazing fire has the potential to entrap people with the flame and smoke blocking blocking escape routes. The warden ensures that the occupants leave the building in a coordinated manner using the recommended fire exit routes.
A trained warden is likely to keep the people moving in an organised manner and prevent the situation from turning chaotic.
Their presence of someone who know what needs to be done is likely to keep people calm in a situation where panic can easily step in.
The fire wardens sweep the area to ensure that no one gets left behind in meeting rooms, in washrooms or in other enclosed or difficult to locate places.
The needs of people with disabilities or injuries and those who may not be able to evacuate quickly are given special attention to ensure they evacuate safely and swiftly.
Once everyone has been evacuated to a pre-designated area, it is the duty of the fire warden to conduct a head count to ensure that everyone is safely accounted for.
When fire personnel arrive, the fire wardens inform them of people who might be missing, any areas which they were unable to sweep because of the danger so that fire personnel can begin their search for missing people from those areas.
The duties and responsibilities of a fire warden are enormous. The skills and abilities of the fire warden to perform his duties could result in the saving of life and property. These responsibilities cannot be taken lightly.
The Australian law prescribes that safety and health of workers are the responsibility of people conducting a business. Under the model Work Health and Safety Act (WHS Act), Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) have a duty of care to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety for their workers, customers and visitors by eliminating or minimising risks at the workplace.
A fire related event can lead to injuries, fatalities, loss of property and ultimately even disruption of business, loss of revenue and requirement for fresh injection of capital. Given the enormity of the concern, the requirement under the WHS Act and the need to maximise the safety of the occupants, it is pretty clear that the fire wardens require formal preparation and training from experts in order to effectively discharge their responsibilities.
Serious preparation needs to go into preparing for the huge responsibility. The Alsco training is a comprehensive training that develops a complete emergency plan for your workspace.
Step 1 – Survey and Planning
The first step is to conduct a survey of your workplace. Experienced and well-qualified people from Alsco will meet with HR and safety officials from your business to understand your needs. This will help in determining the number of fire officials required for your office and in preparing a complete plan.
Step 2 – Training
This step involves training people from your company. It is important to identify the correct people for this job. Potential wardens must be resourceful, cool under pressure and able to take on a leadership role in the midst of a crisis.
Knowledgeable Cert IV trainers and assessors from Alsco conduct this training. The trainers are themselves professionals who have worked in emergency services.
The training involves familiarising the wardens with types of fire, the behaviour of fire, the various fire escapes available, procedures for evacuation and the usage of specialised equipment. It also involves schooling them on human behaviour, teaching them to remain calm and take leadership roles in these situations.
Fire wardens are taught to detect potential fire hazards, to be on their lookout to avoid mishaps and accidents which could lead to potential disasters.
Step 3 – On-Site Evacuation
The training involves practical training as well. A full site evacuation is conducted so that the wardens get a first-hand experience of their jobs and all the occupants are also aware of their roles.
The evacuation process is closely monitored by Alsco trainers to provide feedback to the organisation. This helps in improving evacuation times, processes and plans.
Step 4 – Reporting
Alsco Managed Training makes available an Online Incident Management Centre. A critical part of the fire wardens job is to maintain an up-to-date employee list.
In case of an actual fire incident, fire wardens can make use of the incident reports available online in the Alsco Incident Management Centre for their reporting. HR and OH&S Managers can use the Incident Management Centre to generate reports with information, including the number and type of injuries/incidents and location within the workplace.
Step 5 – Recording and Tracking
A careful record is maintained of the people who have trained as fire wardens, their level of competency and proficiency. Automatic reminders are sent for required refresher training or for mandatory re-certification.
The cost of not being prepared for a fire emergency can be debilitating for a business. The Alsco Fire Warden Training is designed to ensure that the designated and chosen fire wardens are well-equipped to deliver on their enormous responsibility. We ensure that they emerge as heroes, should such an eventuality arise.
Make sure that your business functions without interruptions and does not suffer from any loss of human life or property. All it requires is a little bit of planning. The Alsco Fire Warden Training is designed to help you do just that. Let us help your business starting today.
Image Courtesy : Petteri Sulonen