Fire safety in the workplace
The responsibility of fire safety in the workplace is often considered to be solely down to the management, and while in many cases legally that is so, it is also the responsibility of everyone to look after their own area of the workplace which can help to keep down any accidents, and ensure hazards are minimal. It is the responsibility to the management to ensure all their employees have adequate fire training, and to appoint fire marshals who take more in depth fire marshal training. Once the individual has had the training then it is up to them to ensure they implement what they have learnt into their day to day duties.
If an incident occurs then staff will look towards the fire marshal to ensure their safety, take a roll call of personnel currently in the building so that they know if anyone is missing and or potentially trapped inside the building and to guide them to safety. The fire marshal will have training in how to use fire extinguishers and fire blankets, ideal for smaller fires, such as those that might be caused by a toaster or a waste paper bin fire. They will also have had proper training on how to use an emergency mattress, commonly used in care homes or hospitals, or similar environments where patients may not be able to walk down the stairs with ease. They can be awkward to use but with the right training it can ensure those with limited mobility can also get to safety if for any reason the lift is out of order.
The person responsible for fire safety in the workplace is also the one who should carry out the risk assessment of the area, they will also keep the risk assessment updated on a regular basis. It can be easy to do this if the person is well trained as it becomes second nature to notice potential hazards.
During the fire marshal training, you will learn how to plan an evacuation procedure and how to implement it should it become necessary. This can include choosing the safest place as your evacuation meeting point, which is often near to the building but a safe enough distance to be away from any potential hazards, and of course to allow emergency services access to the premises. This is often in the corner of a car park, or an open area on the grounds.
As hard as you may try to keep an area safe, storing flammables securely for example, it is the unforeseen situations that no one can be fully prepared for. Fire marshal training will ensure that there is at least one person within the organisation who has the skills to think quickly, and act accordingly to these situations. They can alert the relevant emergency services and set off the fire alarm if it has not already been activated, try to tackle a small fire if it is safe to do so, and keep a level head when evacuating the building.