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1st November 2018

Do I Have to Train Fire Marshalls?

The Scenario

This question is commonly asked by clients when our consultancy team are undertaking fire risk assessments at sites.

When you’re putting together your buildings excavation strategy you’ll need to appoint key members of staff to take charge in an emergency situation. But once you’ve done that, what training is actually required…….and how often do you need to carry out the training?

Legal Requirements

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is the overarching legislation governing fire safety within buildings. As usual in H&S law, the specific legal requirement is fairly succinct for employers on the issue of staff fire safety training, and it simply states that the training must be “suitable and sufficient” but also that must include the “precautions and actions to be taken” by an employee to protect themselves and others from harm. Finally, it’s a mandatory requirement that the training takes place ‘during working hours.’

The government’s specific guidance which is provided to assist companies to comply with the requirements of the law detailed above provides more detail on what the staff training should include in order to be deemed ‘suitable and sufficient’.

The guidance stipulates that all staff need a baseline level of fire safety training. You should, therefore, ensure that all staff and your appointed fire marshals receive this basic training as a first step which needs to include the following:-

  • the items listed in your emergency plan;
  • the importance of fire doors and other basic fire-prevention measures;
  • where relevant, the appropriate use of firefighting equipment;
  • the importance of reporting to the assembly area;
  • exit routes and the operation of exit devices, including physically walking these routes;
  • general matters such as permitted smoking areas or restrictions on cooking other than in designated areas;
  • assisting disabled persons where necessary.

For those staff who are designated as ‘Fire Marshalls’ or ‘Fire Wardens’ (the terms mean exactly the same thing, so it doesn’t matter how you refer to them!) more comprehensive training is obviously needed, and the subjects to cover as a minimum in addition to the basic fire training outlined above include:

  • helping those on the premises to leave;
  • checking the premises to ensure everyone has left;
  • using firefighting equipment if safe to do so;
  • liaising with the fire and rescue service on arrival;
  • shutting down vital or dangerous equipment;
  • performing a supervisory/managing role in any fire situation.
  • detailed knowledge of the fire safety strategy of the premises;
  • awareness of human behaviour in fires;
  • how to encourage others to use the most appropriate escape route;
  • how to search safely and recognise areas that are unsafe to enter;
  • Safe evacuation of any disabled persons;
  • an understanding of the purpose of any fixed firefighting equipment such as sprinklers or gas flooding systems; and
  • the need to report on faults, incidents and near misses.

What about Refresher Training?

Lighthouse consultants are fully qualified to deliver both levels of training for our clients, we also have an extensive E-learning option as an alternative to the traditional classroom training style if gathering relevant staff at one time is proving difficult.

It’s worthwhile noting that there’s no legally required refresher period for basic or fire marshall training. However, we would always advise this be undertaken ideally on an annual basis, but at maximum intervals of three years.

If you have any queries about fire safety training for staff or would like to book a course, contact us through the website or call us on 0845 459 1724

 

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