How fire safety training can save your life!
People die in fires. There is no way to dress that up or make it sound nicer. Fires do happen and they do take lives. It is almost unbelievable to think that, in a time when fire fighting equipment and safety laws are so sophisticated, we still have hundreds of deaths every year in the UK. Worse still is that the majority of fires are preventable, and the deaths need not occur. Although fire safety training is not the only answer to preventing fire related injuries, it is a step towards it.
Training of any sort is intended to give the learner a deeper understanding of the subject. Hopefully, after the learning takes place, the learner has a new perspective or more depth of knowledge. In the case of most workplace training that knowledge is intended for a practical use. The person taking the training course should therefore learn something that they can then apply practically to their working life. Unlike something like, for example, time management training or instruction on how to use a machine or software package, fire safety training is there to be drawn upon not only as daily procedure but in a sudden emergency. In a fire, your training could save your life.
The Importance of Good Training
In the case of Fire Marshal/Warden the training course you take should provide the background needed to proactively perform the duties that will be part of the role. These duties will vary depending on your circumstances, but they will almost certainly involve key prevention tasks such as checking fire equipment and escape routes. The main reason a Fire Warden is part of the safety strategy is that they play a vital role in ensuring that people are and remain safe from fire.
The Responsible Person for the business should be aware of this and ensure that there are enough Fire Marshals to deal with an emergency and ensure the fire procedures work. No matter how good the fire procedures are in an emergency though, nothing will ever be a better way of fighting fires than preventing them in the first place. A trained and active Fire Marshal is not just there to tick a box on the fire safety plan, they are there to reduce the possibility of fire. There is no doubt that a good Fire Warden will contribute to the processes that could ultimately result in saving a life.
Fire Marshal Training
Not everyone needs to be Fire Marshal trained of course but that does not mean that the need for training is any less vital. Training on how to respond to a fire situation is just as important for the rest of the team. It is amazing how often you see people either responding inappropriately or, worse still, not responding at all when there is a fire test.
Fast and appropriate responding is part of all fire safety training and for a very good reason. When a fire starts it usually spreads quickly. Because fire spreads easily, the moments between discovery and evacuation can be the difference between leaving the building safely and possible injury. Hesitation can be a huge factor in the response time to an alarm. People will often ignore the alarm at first, assuming it is a test. In some cases, they will even actually go and look for a fire to confirm if it is real. Literally, they are walking into danger to see how dangerous it is. Training will go a long way to offset these problems.
Fire training will also cover a range of safety aspects you will need to remember should an emergency occur. In the scant few moments between the evacuation signal and safety, your training will be the thing that reminds you to keep below the smoke line or how to test a door to ensure that there is no fire on the other side. Hopefully your Fire Marshal will be there to guide you but they will also have a lot of other people and duties to take care of, so the better the rest of the staff respond the safer everyone will be.
The Effectiveness of Fire Training
One of the most important benefits of training though is often one of the least recognised. As we said earlier hesitation is a big factor in the way a fire situation plays out. People who are untrained and unsure become unpredictable and may make bad choices. When there is an emergency, however, a bad choice can be fatal.
Training will give your whole team confidence and encourage them to respond in a positive and decisive way. Better still, well-trained people tend to become more proactive. Training helps to reduce what you could call the ‘not my problem’ factor where the signs of a fire or a dangerous situation are left for someone else to deal with because the person discovering it does not feel they have the authority or knowledge to act.
Right at the beginning of this article we mentioned that almost all fires could have been prevented and that prevention is the best way to stop a fire. With proper training everyone should be in a position to ensure that fires do not start in the first place and if they do start, minimise the risk and damage.