Having someone who knows exactly what to do in a fire is vital to your business’s and your employees’ safety. For most businesses, that person will be a trained, qualified fire marshal. A fire marshal is responsible for guiding people out of a building safely when it is on fire and for helping to minimise the risk of a fire occurring in the first place. Indeed, fire marshal responsibilities are numerous and varied. Luckily, you can read all about what your fire marshal needs to do in our post below.
Many people think a fire marshal’s primary job is to make sure everyone gets out of a burning building safely. However, their responsibilities go much further than that.
Indeed, the first and most consistent responsibility that a fire marshal will need to attend to is taking steps to prevent a fire from occurring in the first place. They do this by identifying fire hazards at their workplace and then reporting them to the appropriate person.
Such responsibilities are usually carried out by performing regular, weekly checks on fire doors and fire alarms and monthly emergency lighting checks.
Regular checks of emergency exits, break glass call points, fire safety signs, exit routes, and storage are also constants in a fire marshal’s responsibilities. Not to mention dealing with the legal aspect of fire safety such as inducting new employees, running fire drills, PAT testing electrical devices and completing your business’s fire safety logbook and paperwork.
Fire marshals can also help employers (responsible persons) adhere to their fire safety risk assessment.
When a fire occurs
Of course, a fire marshal’s responsibilities aren’t only concerned with prevention. They also have significant duties if a fire does occur. In particular, a fire marshal will need to ensure that everyone safely evacuates a building when there is a fire. This task will also include making sure that no one re-enters until it has been deemed safe.
Sometimes people refer to this aspect of the role as being a fire warden. The reason being that a warden is someone entrusted with taking care of something important. In this case, your employee’s safety during a fire. Indeed, in some businesses, the fire warden and the fire marshal roles are split between different individuals. However, commonly both parts come under the fire marshal remit.
If a fire does occur, the fire marshal must raise the alarm and contact the fire service. Directing people to emergency exits and checking on vulnerable employees to ensure they make it out safe is also under their remit. Closing fire doors and completing a sweep of each floor of the building will also fall to them—the aim is to make sure no one is left behind.
Fire marshals must also deal with smaller fires with extinguishers. This means will need fire extinguisher experience ahead of time. Finally, a fire marshal will also need to take a roll call to ensure that everyone has safely escaped the building.
What a fire marshal is not responsible for during a fire
It is also important to note that a fire marshal is not responsible for everything to do with fire in your business. Indeed, if a fire does occur, it is not their job to make the area safe or lock fireproof safes.
It is also not the fire marshal’s job to supply fire safety information to staff or implement relevant fire safety procedures. Fire marshals are also not responsible for completing fire risk assessments. Indeed, all of these tasks are the job of the fire safety responsible person. In other words, you, the business owner, or the person that owns the building that your company operates within must meet these responsibilities.
Fire marshal training
As you can tell from the breakdown above, being a fire marshal means responsibilities for many different and varied duties. That is why you must provide comprehensive fire marshal training for anyone associated with your business in this, or a fire warden role. Fire marshals must also be certified every three years to ensure their training and knowledge stay up to date.
When choosing a fire marshal training course for your employees, look for programs that will cover all aspects of fire safety. Usually, a good course will include current legislation, guidance on preventing fire, advice on running safe evacuation, and even hands-on experience of using extinguishers. All of which are vital parts of what an effective fire marshal needs to know.