Here are six common questions answered about fire safety training in the workplace.
Fire safety training is a paramount aspect of business management, and the most important way to protect people is to arm them with the knowledge to respond in the most efficient way during an emergency situation.
The first priority when a fire breaks out in a building is to get everyone out as quickly and calmly as possible. Whilst some believe aspects of fire safety training and evacuation procedures fall on common sense, you would be surprised how much can be forgotten in a state of panic!
What is Fire Safety Training?
Fire safety training educates on the basic science of a fire – such as how it develops and spreads – the different types of firefighting equipment, what to do and what not to do when you identify a fire, and how to evacuate safely.
Is Fire Safety Training a Legal Requirement?
Yes – if you own, manage or control a commercial premises, you have a legal obligation to protect everyone who lives, works or visits your building.
As specified in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it is the duty of the ‘Responsible Person’ to identify and remove hazards within the workplace (for instance, by having a fire risk assessment), ensuring the premises meets the required safety standards (by employing the recommendations of the fire risk assessment) and equipping employees with ‘adequate fire safety training’.
Specifically, the Fire Safety Order states that the Responsible Person must ensure their employees have training when they are first employed, when there are new or increased risks to employees, and also on a periodical basis.
The term ‘adequate’ is fairly vague, leaving it open to interpretation as to how often and to what extent fire safety training is carried out, but it is important to remember:
- Fire safety training is for you and your employees’ benefit to give you the knowledge and confidence to respond effectively and safely in the event of a fire.
- It is required by law and if found not to have provided at least basic fire safety training for your employees then you can be penalised for not acting with due diligence, making you non-compliant with the Fire Safety Order.
The London Fire Brigade defines ‘adequate’ fire safety training as having induction training, followed by periodical refresher training, as well as additional training to support people in meeting their fire safety duties.
It’s important to note that fire safety certificates expire, so there will come a point (typically they last 2-3 years) where they will need to be updated with a refresher course.
Who Needs Fire Safety Training?
All employees should know what to do in the event of a fire and basics of the emergency plan, such as who the designated Fire Wardens/Marshals are, where the nearest fire exits are and where the safe meeting place is during an evacuation. This should be the case for all new staff when they join an establishment, and existing members should undergo refresher training of Basic Fire Safety Training.
Designated Fire Wardens/Marshals will require more extensive training as they have more reactive responsibilities in the event of a fire, such as raising the alarm and calling the emergency services (if designated), directing staff in an evacuation, assisting vulnerable persons and closing all windows and fire doors upon exiting.
How often is Fire Safety Training Required?
As mentioned above, fire safety training certificates are not lifelong. Depending on the course and the provider, your certificate will be valid anywhere from one year to five years (fire marshal training certificates tend to be valid for less time as they require more extensive knowledge). The expiry date will usually be on your certificate.
It’s important to note that you keep all reports, certificates and documents relating to all things fire safety in a designated space and altogether for easy reference, as these documents will be referred to as evidence of your compliance and due diligence should an investigation ever ensue following a fire-related incident.
Where Can I get Fire Safety Training?
Wit WFP, of course! Our courses are taught by ex-firefighters, and range from Basic Fire Safety through to Fire Warden/Marshal Training – all of which are tailored to your specific requirements.
These professional courses do not use live fire training, however nominated staff will be trained in the use of fire extinguishers. If you require evacuation training to aid immobile and vulnerable persons in the event of an emergency, this can also be incorporated within your training.
What Should I Do in Addition to Fire Safety Training?
As well as fire safety training, you should also carry out fire drills at least once a year (more frequently if your site is deemed high risk or if you’re a school, for example, then this is required once a term).
Fire safety training is an important part of both efficient business housekeeping and protecting the people within your premises, but there are other important factors that need tick-boxing alongside this; to simply do fire safety training and nothing else would not be considered compliant with the Fire Safety Order and fulfilling your duties as the ‘Responsible Person’.
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