Bulletin 136 June 2010 Fire Wardens: Preparing for the Role
- Posted at: September 25, 2021 03:29:22

These difficult economic times certainly have business operators searching for ways to reduce expenditures and keep accounts in the black. Even more challenging for management is the task of allocating time to train the nominated fire wardens in a building. The question that often arises at budget meetings is how to fund such an important requirement of the fire code. Your building fire safety plan specifies all the necessary steps to be taken by the fire wardens in the event a fire emergency occurs at the premise. Of course, each fire safety plan is a customized document, as all buildings are slightly different and the number of employees varies dramatically. Fire wardens carry a huge responsibility: they must ensure that their colleagues are guided out of the premises and accounted for at the safe haven areas. They must also be the first points of contact when the fire department arrives. The priority for designated fire wardens is to direct the evacuation, ensuring that everyone proceeds as quickly as possible and in an orderly fashion. They must verify that each area has been evacuated, no one is trapped and must then exit the building themselves. The fire wardens must be careful not to endanger anyone while performing their duties. If smoke is developing or there is any chance of becoming trapped, they should abandon their duties and leave the premises.

While there may seem to be a lot to learn, a fire warden will find it beneficial to frequently review the building fire safety plan. For complex fire safety plans, private trainers may be contracted to cover the key points. A small group can be easily trained in one four-hour session, which works out to an expenditure of approximately sixty dollars a month over a twelve-month period. The financial result of not complying with the requirements for fire wardens as described in the fire safety plan is fines in excess of several thousand dollars. The fire code clearly places the legal onus on building owners, operators and management personnel to carry out training of their fire wardens. Fire wardens must acquire specific skills in order to perform their role effectively. The focus ranges from general procedures, the science of fire and how fires spread, common causes of fire, safety features in buildings and what action is required upon discovery of a fire. In-class training will step fire wardens through the process of contacting the fire department, evacuation procedures, how to spot and reduce hazards, daily and weekly fire risk checks and record keeping. Although there has been much controversy regarding the handling of extinguishers by fire wardens to fight fires, the theory and practical use of a fire extinguisher is part of the fire safety plan. Those fire wardens who are designated and authorized to fight small fires must receive specific training regarding fire extinguishers, know how to effectively put out a fire, the hazards involved, and when not to fight a fire but evacuate the area instead.

The best way to prevent injuries or loss of life from fire is to prevent the fire in the first place. All fire wardens must be aware of the potential hazards in their work area, and be trained regarding safe work procedures and practices that will minimize the possibility of fire. Equally important, fire wardens must have a reporting system in place for their colleagues to notify them of any conditions they have observed that could lead to ignition or increase the rate of spread of a fire.

This article was contributed by Firepoint Inc, serving the GTA since 1997, developing fire department approved fire safety plans for newly constructed and existing buildings. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, the bulletin publishers and authors do not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current and shall not be liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the bulletin information. Bulletin reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the written consent of Firepoint Inc. Copyright 2021 – All Rights Reserved. See www.firepoint.ca or call 905-874-9400.

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