FLOOR WARDENS AND SUPERVISORY TEAM
Fire safety plans enhance the level of awareness among the tenants of a building, which is vital for their survival in the event of a fire. All property managers are obligated to familiarize occupants with emergency procedures and to provide them with the ability to monitor their own environment. The fire code requires that the property managers responsible for a building ensure there are supervisory or warden personnel in place, depending on the classification of the building occupancy.
For the most part, these personnel are responsible for a particular space, be it an entire or partial floor. They must ensure that occupants evacuate the area, when it is safe to do so, via the nearest exit to an outside assembly location. Depending on the procedures contained in the approved fire safety plan, the ideal response to fire may not necessarily be evacuation via a stairway to the outside, but to remain in a safe haven. The decision as to whether to evacuate may also hinge on how far smoke and fire has progressed within the building.
Many buildings are required to have a fire warden whose role is to improve knowledge and awareness by occupants of their floor or tenanted space. The warden must be thoroughly familiar with the building fire alarm system, whether it is a single-stage, modified 2-stage or a regular 2-stage system. He or she must also assemble a team that is effective, efficient and prompt in managing building evacuations. The floor fire warden must know the building's exit paths, cross-over floors and the effectiveness of each means of evacuation.
As volunteers, floor wardens are to provide direction in an assertive manner so as to be able to create practical evacuation plans. They conduct annual fire drills to ensure that all the occupants are fully-prepared and alert when a real emergency arises in the building. Some buildings require additional fire drills depending on building height and fire alarm system specifications. It is important for property operators to ask each tenant company to have at least one representative attend an annual floor fire warden training meeting. This ensures they are familiar with the building's fire alarm system, various fire alarm scenarios, evacuation procedures and how to minimize exposure to smoke and fire. In addition to the meeting, documented instructions on emergency procedures can be provided directly to occupants, as well as posted prominently on each floor of the building.