Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants



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Facilities Management & Fire Safety - Special Duties in the Fire Procedures - Part 8

Posted by LWF: 08/08/2018 9:30

In LWF’s blog series for people working in Facilities Management or those with an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, we have been looking at what should be contained in an organisation’s fire procedures. In part 7, special duties relating to summoning the Fire Service were outlined and in part 8, we look at the use of Fire Wardens.

Fire wardens are generally necessary for larger buildings or those buildings where the occupancy changes, e.g. where the public is allowed access to the building. In smaller organisations or those where the occupancy remains constant, a roll call system after evacuation may be effective instead.

Fire wardens and deputies should be appointed for each area of the building and if there is a fire, they are responsible for ensuring each individual in their designated area has evacuated the building. Upon completion, the fire warden and deputy should evacuate and be able to report that their area of the building including toilets is clear to the person in charge at the Assembly Point.

While a fire warden is responsible for checking people have evacuated, they are not responsible for instigating evacuation and therefore the fire procedures must make clear that evacuation must not be delayed pending instructions from a fire warden. The presence or absence of a fire warden should not have a noticeable effect on an evacuation, aside from the value of the information available to the Fire Service. Confirmation that nobody is left inside the building means that the Fire Service can concentrate on extinguishing the fire, rather than looking for potential building occupants.

Where a fire warden system is in place, there must be sufficient fire wardens on duty at any given time. While fire wardens are usually named persons in the Fire Procedures, there must be sufficient cover in the case of absence. Potentially, the post of fire warden can be linked to a working post, such as duty manager, providing that there must always be a duty manager on shift. 

While post-linking means that it is easy to provide cover at all times, it does impact on the potential for choosing fire wardens based on their level of interest and aptitude for the role. The possibility that a post holder may not be interested or wish to attend training sessions can indicate that they will not fulfil the duties adequately when the time arises.

In part 9 of this series, LWF will look at how occupants are accounted for at assembly points after evacuation and what arrangements should be made in the Fire Procedures. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0208 668 8663.

Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years' experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings. 

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF's publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.


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