Fire marshals are normally volunteers from within the workforce, who step up to take extra responsibility in the event of a fire. If you would like to become a fire marshal, you should let your employer know. Normally there are enough volunteers to provide the required number of fire marshals, but if there are not, then your employer may ask you to consider becoming a fire marshal. You are not obliged to do so if you don’t want to, but the extra skills will help make you a more valuable employee at work and improve your CV if you ever want to change jobs. Becoming a fire marshal is also rewarding in itself, and it could even help you to save the life of a colleague or workmate.
To become a fire marshal, you will need to complete a formal fire marshal training course. You employer is obliged to provide this training for you, and to cover the course costs. You may not receive any extra pay for being a fire marshal, but it should not cost you anything either. Fire marshal courses are normally held in house at your place of work, but if you have to travel to a training centre, then your employer should reimburse you for travel expenses.
A formal fire marshal training course takes half a day, lasting between three and a half and four hours. The course will cover all the relevant legislation regarding fire safety, as listed under the Regulatory reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
The course will explain your role, both in the day to day working environment as well as an emergency situation. You will be taught how to prevent fires by raising fire risk awareness and encouraging fire-safe working practices. The fire marshal training course will also show you what you need to do to ensure that emergency measures are effective if they are ever needed. This includes checking fire doors are not blocked, checking extinguishers are regularly serviced and conducting regular fire drills to make sure your colleagues know what to do in an emergency evacuation.
You will also be taught how to take charge if fire breaks out. This includes how to clear and check your appointed section quickly and effectively, and what information you will need to report to the emergency services when they arrive. If training takes place in house, you may also be shown how to operate any firefighting equipment that has been provided.
Fire marshal courses are conducted under continuous assessment, to ensure all candidates understand their role and responsibilities as the course progresses, so there is no requirement for a test at the end. If you complete the course to the trainer’s satisfaction, then you will receive a recognised certificate which legally entitles you to act as a fire marshal. This qualification belongs to you, not your company, and can be taken with you to your next job if you move on.
Fire marshal certificates are valid for three years, after which you will need to attend the course again, or to take a short refresher course. In some higher risk industries, such as heavy manufacturing, it may be necessary to refresh your fire marshal skills annually