Is fire warden training mandatory?
Business clients often ask should fire wardens receive training and is fire marshal training compulsory.
The answer is yes; under the provisions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005 you are obliged to offer both general fire safety training for all members of staff, and specialist fire warden or fire marshal training for appointed staff members.
What does the law say?
Under the Order, you are compelled to ‘nominate a number of competent persons’ to implement your fire safety plans. A ‘competent person’ is defined as someone who has ‘sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them properly to assist in undertaking preventive and protective measures’. As an employer, you have a responsibility to ensure that your fire marshals or fire wardens are trained, and that the training available to them is ‘adequate, taking into account the size of, and the specific hazards involved in, the premises concerned’.
All candidates who complete a fire warden training course are issued with a certificate of attendance, which is recognised by the HSE. This certificate is legally valid for three years and can be taken with you if you change jobs.
What if I don’t provide training?
It is an offence for an employer (or another responsible person) to fail to comply with the requirements of the Fire Safety Order, especially where ‘that failure places one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in case of fire’. If you do not nominate fire marshals or fire wardens, or if you fail to provide appropriate training from an approved provider, which leads to a recognised certificate, then you are liable to prosecution under Health and Safety law.
Training makes sense
Of course, providing high-quality fire warden training is about much more than just meeting your legal responsibilities. Fire wardens are an integral part of your fire safety plans, based on your fire risk assessment, and they need to be appropriately trained if they are to be effective in keeping your people and your premises safe from fire.
Fire warden training takes just half a day, yet it provides your nominated fire wardens with all the knowledge and information they need to maintain fire safety in the workplace. Fire warden training covers both proactive fire prevention measures as well as reactive firefighting and evacuation and procedures.
Professional fire warden training not only meets all your statutory obligations but also ensures your fire safety is the best it can be, creating a team of competent, confident staff ready to act in all circumstances.
In house fire warden training
There is nothing in the law that states where fire warden training should be carried out. There are many classroom-based programmes available and some companies even offer training online. While this meets the minimum requirements of the law, it will only ever give you the minimum protection from fire.
In house fire marshal training is far more effective. Not only can the training be tailored to the exact risks and challenges of your premises, it also teaches the required skills and techniques in the actual environment in which they will be used. This makes the training feel much more relevant and applicable for your team and could save vital minutes when you need them most.