Employers have a responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of your employees, and one of the key aspects of workplace safety is fire safety.
Having trained fire marshals is an essential part of ensuring that your workplace is prepared to respond to a fire.
Legal Requirements for Fire Marshals
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 sets out the legal requirements for fire safety in non-domestic premises in England and Wales. This legislation requires that the responsible person (usually the employer or owner of the premises) take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of employees in the event of a fire. This includes having a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment, providing appropriate fire safety measures, and ensuring that employees receive adequate fire safety training.
One of the key requirements of the legislation is that the responsible person appoints one or more competent persons to assist in the implementation of fire safety measures. This is where trained fire marshals come in – they are the competent persons who are responsible for ensuring that the organisation is prepared to respond to a fire.
It should also be noted that since the Grenfell Tower fire in which 72 people died, and the subsequent Grenfell Inquiry, the UK Government implemented a number of recommendations under the The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 which introduce new duties under the Fire Safety Order for building owners or managers (responsible persons).
Role of the Fire Marshal
The role of a fire marshal is to assist in implementing fire safety measures and to take charge in the event of a fire. Some of the key responsibilities of a fire marshal include:
- Conducting regular fire drills to ensure that employees are familiar with the emergency procedures.
- Ensuring that fire exits are kept clear and that fire doors are not propped open.
- Checking that fire extinguishers are in place and in good working order.
- Ensuring that any flammable materials are stored safely.
- Evacuating the building in the event of a fire and ensuring that everyone is accounted for.
- Liaising with the fire service when they arrive on the scene.
Benefits of Trained Fire Marshals
Fire marshals should be competent to fulfill the role, however legislation stops short of requiring formal training.
However, having trained fire marshals in your organisation has many benefits, including:
- Improved fire safety – Fire marshals are trained to identify and mitigate fire risks, which can help to prevent fires from occurring in the first place.
- Faster response time – Trained fire marshals are able to respond quickly and effectively in the event of a fire, which can help to minimise damage and protect employees.
- Compliance with legal requirements – By appointing trained fire marshals, your organisation will be complying with the legal requirements for fire safety.
- Increased employee confidence – Knowing that there are trained fire marshals in the organisation can help to increase employee confidence and reduce anxiety about fire safety.
In conclusion, if you are an organisation based in the UK, it is recommended that you have trained fire marshals to ensure the safety of your employees.
Fire marshals play a crucial role in implementing fire safety measures, responding to fires, and mitigating fire risks. By appointing trained fire marshals, you can ensure that your organisation is prepared to respond effectively in the event of a fire and that you are complying with the legal requirements for fire safety.