The Role of Fire Wardens in Evacuation Planning
Fire wardens hold a critical responsibility in ensuring the safety of people and property during an emergency as outlined in the Australian Standard AS3745:2010 – Planning for Emergencies in Facilities. Fire warden training equips wardens with the knowledge and skills to confidently handle various fire-related situations and facilitate safe evacuations. Here is a summarised breakdown of the roles and procedures fire wardens have in evacuation planning.
Responsibilties of Fire Wardens
- Raising the Alarm: Fire wardens are responsible for promptly raising the alarm in an emergency and notifying the appropriate Emergency Service by calling triple zero (000). They should be trained to operate fire alarm systems effectively. This includes understanding the system’s operation and promptly sounding alarms when necessary.
- Quick and Timely Response: The primary duty of fire wardens is not to physically combat emergencies, but rather to prioritise the safety of occupants. Fire wardens are responsible for assessing the situation and guiding occupants to safe assembly areas, ensuring their well-being and minimising risks. Their focus is on efficient and secure evacuations to protect lives and property.
- Evacuation Management: Fire wardens lead occupants during evacuations, ensuring a quick and safe exit from the building. They consider the specific needs of individuals with mobility challenges, helping them exit safely. Before leaving the floor or area, fire wardens must conduct thorough final checks, including toilets, store rooms, and all occupiable spaces. The primary goal is to ensure that no one is left behind on the floor. This action is of paramount importance, as it prioritises the safety of occupants over a later physical count at the assembly area.
- Firefighting Equipment: Fire wardens should be familiar with the types of fire extinguishers and other firefighting equipment available and their appropriate applications. Different fires require different types of extinguishers, and they must know which one to use based on the type of fire.
- Communication: Effective clear and concise communication is vital, fire wardens must relay information to the Chief Warden about the fire’s location, severity, and the progress of any evacuation procedures.
- Proactive Approach: Wardens must be vigilant in fire prevention by identifying potential hazards, reporting maintenance issues, and promoting fire safety awareness among colleagues.
Procedures for Fire Wardens
- Warden Training: Fire warden training reviews the facility’s emergency procedures and covers the roles and responsibilities of the Emergency Control Organisation.
- Evacuation Exercises: Fire evacuation exercises must be conducted annually to test and validate emergency procedures, enhance response times and build confidence. They need to incorporate various emergency scenarios, including different types of fires, smoke-filled environments, and managing individuals with special needs.
- Hands-on Training: Hands-on training, such as VR Fire Extinguisher Training, provides safer, smarter and deeper learning solutions to better protect people, property and the environment.
Whilst each emergency can differ, the REACT™ procedure offers a set of immediate generic responses which are easily memorised and appropriate in most circumstances. They are:
Respond – You should always Respond to, or Raise the alarm.
Examine – Examine what type of emergency you may be facing.
Assess – Assess the risks to your life safety and that of others.
Control – Take Control of the situation, act responsibly.
Talk – Always Talk (communicate) with all parties concerned.
In fulfilling their responsibilities, fire wardens are invaluable assets in maintaining a secure environment and ensuring the safety of occupants and property during emergencies. First 5 Minutes offers comprehensive packages that ensure your complete emergency compliance; including the warden training that we’ve talked about in this article. You can contact us below to get more information on how you can best prepare yourself in the case of an emergency.