A workplace or building fire could damage the business or its employees. Hundreds of thousands of fires could occur annually in the workplace and are responsible for many fatalities or severe injuries.
Every property or business owner has a legal obligation that their property meets the fire safety regulations to ensure everyone’s safety during a fire outbreak. It requires employers to have adequate fire prevention arrangements and a dedicated person who knows their roles well to do the job.
This comprehensive guide will help readers learn the roles and responsibilities of fire marshals to ensure a business’s safety and success.
What is a Fire Marshal?
A fire marshal is appointed or employed by a fire department, building, or organization to implement fire safety procedures and regulations.
They are primarily responsible for ensuring that businesses meet specific fire safety standards and coordinating emergency response plans during an emergency.
Fire marshals conduct regular fire drills and inspect properties to guarantee they meet local and state laws regulating the use of flammable substances and materials, properly storing combustible materials, and installing fire-resistant walls, floors, and doors.
To put it simply, a fire marshal can be an/a:
- Building owner
- Individuals occupying a building
- Managers, risk assessors, or anyone controlling a building
A fire marshal is also responsible for ensuring that people can exit the building safely during a fire emergency.
Key Roles & Duties of Fire Marshals
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires a responsible person to assign a competent person known as a fire marshal in the workplace to enforce fire safety measures.
So, this competent person has the following responsibilities:
- Assess the fire risks
- Implement appropriate actions if a fire occurs at work
- Provide first aid to those injured
- Safely fight fire where necessary
- Enable safe evacuation from the building
Day-to-day Responsibilities of a Fire Marshal
A fire marshal will carry out the following roles during daily operations:
- Ensure all evacuations routes are in use & unobstructed
- Conduct routine housekeeping to avoid the risk of potential fire hazards like waste materials or rubbish
- Ensure all flammable or hazardous substances are stored correctly
- Store all the firefighting equipment appropriately and maintain it regularly
- Check all the fire detection systems and fire alarms are functioning optimally
- Conduct regular fire risk assessments
- Implement fire safety protocols if working conditions are changing often
- Arrange & conduct fire drills
- Maintain records of all fire safety activities in the building
Responsibilities of Fire Marshals During Emergency
Along with the daily operations, a fire marshal must remain calm in an emergency as well, and so the duties include:
- Raising the alarm as soon as the fire is detected
- Ensuring the fire doors closed
- Liaising & coordinating with emergency response personnel to respond to the fire
- Using appropriate firefighting equipment to prevent the spread of fire
- Helping vulnerable to evacuate the building safely
- Assisting with evacuation when needed
- Communicating with other fire marshals to find missing people
- Reporting the information to the fire officer in charge
Inspections and Maintenance of Exit Routes and Safety Equipment
Fire marshals ensure safety by regularly checking and maintaining escape routes, safety equipment, and other preventive actions.
Therefore, regular examination for safe exit routes is essential to ensure they are clear of any obstacle.
It is also important to maintain fire alarms and smoke detectors to guarantee they will operate properly during a fire emergency.
Additionally, the fire marshal is required to check for compliance with local building and regulations related to proper entrance, doors and locks.
Fire Preventive Strategies for Buildings
Implementing fire prevention strategies must be vital to any commercial building’s safety procedures. Fire marshals must regularly inspect the building for hazards and determine whether additional fire prevention equipment is necessary.
These include inspecting exit routes, ensuring that smoke detectors and sprinkler systems are in working order, and complying with local codes and regulations to ensure everyone’s safety.
If needed, fire marshals are also required to provide proactive solutions to minimize the risks of fires, like installing fire doors, assessing the location of wiring and combustible materials, creating a fire evacuation plan, and advocating for better providing training to employees on how to prevent and respond to a fire emergency.
In addition, responsible persons must provide adequate training to fire marshals to effectively execute their key roles and core functions, including prevention and education, code enforcement and inspection, plan review, investigation, and emergency response.
Proper training provides the fire marshal with the necessary skills to identify hazards and enforce regulations to mitigate the risk of fire hazards.
Employers can provide them with both online and on-site training sessions involving fire marshal training, fire warden training, fire awareness training, fire risk assessment training, or other fire prevention-related courses to comprehensively understand fire risks and preventive controls to reduce them.
Fire hazards can occur at any time, and the best way to deal with the problem is to have proactive approaches in the workplace and vital information to ensure workplace safety. This content piece has covered the critical roles of fire marshals in this regard.