A fire in your workplace could cripple your business and harm your employees. All business and property owners in the UK have a legal obligation to ensure that their property or premises are compliant with fire safety legislation. These requirements are outlined in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
A fire marshal can be appointed by a manager or by the business or property owner. Since landlords, owners and managers are not always on-site, it is a legal requirement to appoint a fire marshal at your workplace. They must ensure that all legal obligations are met, and that the workplace maintains an acceptable level of fire safety.
This article explains what a fire marshal is, outlines the duties of a fire marshal and provides information on how to find fire marshal training.
What is a Fire Marshal?
Under the regulations, landlords, owners and managers must act to ensure fire safety, by implementing fire risk assessment procedures, providing fire awareness training and ensuring that all fire safety protocols are adhered to.
All workplaces in the UK should have a person who understands what the fire marshal responsibilities are and how to carry them out effectively.
The responsible person can be an/a:
- Owner of the building
- Person occupying the building
- Manager, managing agent or risk assessor, or any other person who has control over the building
The responsible person must appoint a fire marshal whose role is to make certain that all fire risks are identified and that all fire safety protocols are being followed. If there is an emergency, the duty of the fire marshal is to make sure that all people are able to exit the building safely and that the area in the immediate vicinity of the building is safe.
6 Key Fire Marshal Responsibilities
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, the responsible person must appoint a competent person to implement fire safety measures. Most often, this person is designated as the fire marshal.
Acting as the nominated competent person, the fire marshal has the responsibility to:
- Assess all fire risks
- Identify and report any fire hazards
- Take appropriate action if a fire breaks out
- Administer first aid to any injured persons
- Fight fire where necessary and if safe to do so
- Enable a safe, efficient evacuation from a burning building
In general, fire marshal responsibilities can be split into duties that must be performed on a daily basis and duties that must be carried out in the event of a fire.
The Responsibilities of a Fire Marshal on a Daily Basis
During normal day-to-day operations, a fire marshal will usually carry out the following tasks:
- Conduct periodic fire risk assessments
- Update fire risk assessments and fire protocols if workplace conditions change
- Ensure all fire evacuation routes are unobstructed
- Dispose of any materials that pose a fire risk
- Ensure that all flammable or hazardous materials are stored correctly
- Ensure that all fire safety signs are visible
- Ensure that all fire evacuation signs are in working order
- Make certain that all firefighting equipment is in working order and stored correctly
- Check that fire detection equipment and fire alarms are in working order
- Delegate duties to nominated deputies with appropriate training
- Plan and map fire evacuation routes
- Establish fire assembly points
- Organise and conduct fire drills
- Train new employees on fire safety protocols
- Provide refresher training on fire safety protocols for existing employees
- Check that all electrical connections comply with fire safety regulations
- Keep a record of all fire safety activities
The Responsibilities of a Fire Marshal in an Emergency
When a fire breaks out, it’s common for people to panic and forget what they learned in their training. The situation can quickly become chaotic and in the confusion, people can become injured or act in ways that exacerbate the fire – such as opening doors to create a backdraft that stokes flames.
A fire marshal must remain calm and act to ensure others remain calm too. The fire marshal responsibility is to organise the evacuation of the building in a prompt but orderly manner. Human Focus has a free infographic on these duties that that can be shared.
If a fire does start in a building, the nominated fire marshal is responsible for:
- Raising the alarm and notifying authorities as soon as a fire is detected
- Keeping all fire doors and doors to fireproof spaces closed
- Helping any vulnerable people to evacuate the building safely
- Performing a roll call and headcount to ensure all personnel are evacuated
- Coordinating and communicating with emergency responders such as the fire brigade or paramedics
- Where safe to do so, curbing the spread of the fire, using appropriate firefighting equipment
What Does Fire Marshal Training Involve?
Training for fire marshals must cover a wide range of fire safety topics.
Fire marshal training must include:
- How to perform a fire risk assessment,
- How to identify and operate different types of fire extinguishers,
- How to develop and enforce fire safety procedures and
- How to conduct fire door inspections.
To perform their duties effectively, fire marshals must be trained to be aware of:
- Fire marshal responsibilities
- Procedures that must be followed in the event of a fire
- The location of all entrances and exits in the building
- All fire doors in the building
- All firefighting equipment in the building
- All fire alarm call points in the building
Where to Find Fire Marshal Training
Any person that is appointed as a fire marshal is taking on a serious role that has the potential to save lives. Fire marshals require training so they can properly understand the duty of the fire marshal, all aspects of the role and perform the duties of a fire marshal effectively.
The Fire Safety courses from Human Focus give you the knowledge to carry out all relevant fire marshal responsibilities. All of the Human Focus Fire Safety Courses are available online so you can fit your training around your work schedule. These courses have the assurance of respected authorities such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).