This guidance paper is provided to reinforce the training provided by the University for its Fire Wardens and for the general information of Heads of Departments.
The action of Fire Wardens at the time of a fire may be critical to the prevention of serious injury or loss of life. It is therefore most important that Wardens are aware of what is expected of them at the time of an emergency evacuation. Drills are, and will continue to be, held regularly to ensure the required actions remain clear in the minds of those with duties to perform.
The University Health and Safety Policy Document contains the full Fire Precautions and Procedures. Wardens and Heads of Department are referred to this for full details of the procedures applying to their areas of the University.
On hearing the fire alarm all persons should evacuate the building. The Head of Department should make this clear to all staff. Fire action plans are posted around the University informing staff of their designated assembly point. Staff should not make their own assessment of the situation but evacuate immediately.
Fire Wardens should leave their place of work and proceed to check the area designated to them as they leave. This process is not to unduly delay the Fire Warden as they evacuate and they should not endanger their own safety. The procedure will be to briefly check rooms and close doors as they leave. If the Warden finds a person who are not responding to the alarm they are to politely but firmly ask them to leave the building. Wardens should ensure that all people they encounter are aware of the emergency.
If a Fire Warden finds an injured person while checking their area they must make an assessment of the seriousness of the injury and whether the injured person can be moved.
Examples of assessments
- Because of the proximity of smoke and fire it would be hazardous struggling through a smoke filled passage with an injured person.
- If large numbers of people are evacuating through passages they could be hindered if an injured person was being assisted by a Fire Warden.
- If the Fire Warden is unable to successfully support the injured person due to difference in size, strength, etc. this would endanger both persons.
If the injured person can be helped safely from the building then this should be done.
If it is decided unsafe to move them the Fire Warden should go to the assembly point and notify the Fire Control Officer of the precise location of the injured person. The Fire Warden should not put themselves in danger by attempting to rescue an injured person.
Once the Fire Warden has reached the assembly point they should report that their area is clear or otherwise to the Fire Control Office present.
First aid fire fighting should only be undertaken if this can be done safely. The safety of people is the overriding priority, the building and property are of secondary concern.
It should be noted that the fire alarm installation is tested weekly. This is a test of the hardware and not a fire drill. Staff should not evacuate when they hear this test. Days of the week and times are provided on a separate schedule and members of staff should familiarise themselves with the dates and times for the building in which they generally work.
Only the Fire Brigade can give clearance to re-enter the building. This clearance will be given to the University Fire Control Officer. The Fire Control Officer will notify University Staff when it is safe to re-enter the building.
Until this time the Fire Control Officer will instruct Porters and Maintenance staff to prevent people from re-entering the building.
Fire Wardens should be aware of the following guidelines:
- They should not endanger their own safety (by attempting a Fire Fighter's job)
- They should not endanger the safety of others (e.g. injured persons, trapped persons, etc.).
- They should shut doors and windows, when safe to do so.
- They should seek to evacuate the building, reporting to the Fire Control Officer, any who remain or where evacuation has not been checked.
- They are acting as a University appointed person and are covered by all the necessary insurances put in place by the University.
Fire Wardens should regularly check the areas they are responsible for to ensure the following;
- Fire doors are not wedged open.
- Fire extinguishers have not been tampered with.
- Escape routes have not had materials/equipment stored in them.
- Fire signage is visible and in good condition.
The Fire Warden should notify the University Fire Safety Officer of any breaches of the above on firstname.lastname@example.org