JCH Safety carry out Fire Risk Assessments across Coventry and Warwickshire and provide assistance to our clients to comply with their duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
When we first start working with new clients we often notice that they do not have fire marshals in place and that they do not understand what they are supposed to do in regard to fire safety in the workplace. JCH Safety are experts in assessing fire risk and providing fire evacuation procedures to organisations in order to reduce the risk of fire to human life and property. Recent fire experiences have raised the profile of the dangers of fire and, quite rightly, this has spurred businesses owners, schools and churches to improve their fire strategy and procedures. We thought it might be helpful to write a blog about what fire marshals do.
What is a fire marshal?
Let’s start by explaining what a fire marshal is. Basically, fire marshals are normal members of an organisation who have been trained to assist the company to manage fire safety and to react to a fire event by assisting the evacuation of the property. Fire marshals are not fire fighters. They are average people, whether employees or management, who help to prevent fires happening and assist with the evacuation process. It is important that fire marshals are trained so that they understand what they should and also what they shouldn’t do. It is so important to dispel the myth that fire marshals are fire fighters. This simply isn’t the case. JCH Safety provide both classroom Fire Marshal Training as well as online Fire Marshal Training to ensure people are properly trained in the role.
10 Key Fire Marshal Duties
- Fire Marshal duties #1: checking EMERGENCY EXITS. They should be free from obstruction at all times, inside and out, and able to be opened easily. Doors stick if they are not used regularly – they expand and contract with the weather and can suffer damage. Fire marshals should regularly check that final exit emergency doors work as intended and report any faults to management.
- Fire Marshal duties #2: checking FIRE EXTINGUISHERS. Are they in the right position, have they been serviced, and are they indicated by signs? Don’t let people use them for door stops.
- Fire Marshal duties #3: checking FIRE DOORS. Are they in good working order and are they being kept closed? Check that doors shut properly and report any physical damage of doors and walls to management. Remember if a door has an automatic closer, it is meant to be kept closed for safety reasons.
- Fire Marshal duties #4: checking ‘BREAK GLASS CALL POINTS‘. These are the devices fixed to the wall where you can manually sound the fire alarm by breaking the glass. They should always be visible and indicated by signs. They must not be obscured or blocked from view.
- Fire Marshal duties #5: checking your EMERGENCY LIGHTING. All the lights should be in good working order and free from damage. If they aren’t, an electrician or fire safety company should be contacted. If you notice any damage to the emergency lights, or if they are obscured from view, please notify management of the issue.
- Fire Marshal duties #6: be aware of the weekly FIRE ALARM. We’ve all experienced the weekly fire alarm test, what we might not have known is it’s often a fire marshal’s duty to help out. Your key role is to make sure the alarm can be heard in your work areas. In smaller organisation it may well be the role of the fire marshal to test the alarms and record the findings. Make sure you have been trained how the system works.
- Fire Marshal duties #7: checking your FIRE SAFETY SIGNS. Are the right signs in the right places and securely stuck? Are they visible, undamaged and relevant? Please ensure safety signs are not obscured or blocked in any way. If you have any questions about the fire safety signs please speak to your fire safety advisors.
- Fire Marshal duties #8:checking your GENERAL HOUSEKEEPING. Are combustible materials stored away from sources of heat? And are exit routes kept clear and free of clutter?
- Fire Marshal duties #9: checking your areas for signs of UNAUTHORISED SMOKING. Please make sure there are no cigarette ends or signs of smoking around your specific areas. If there are cigarettes, there is a risk of fire from the cigarette ends and from arson by the lighters.
- Fire Marshal duties #10: Assist with the Fire marshals play a vital role in coordinating the evacuation of buildings, both during fire drills and in real fire situations. They are involved in helping people to escape safely, they manage stairwells, carry out ‘sweep searches’, assist disabled people and ultimately help to protect life. By assisting with the fire evacuation strategy fire marshals make sure people get to places of safety outside of the building.
JCH Safety Ltd are Coventry and Warwickshire’s leading fire, health and safety consultancy. Our health and safety consultants are highly trained professionals who work with organisations to manage safety.
We can assist you with all aspects of fire risk management and carry out fire risk assessments as required by law. If you do not have an up to date fire risk assessment you are in breach of your legal duty. JCH Safety are Coventry and Warwickshire’s leading fire safety training providers. Our state of the art interactive online Basic Fire Safety Awareness courses and our online Fire Marshal Training make easy work of fire safety training. Visit out website to try our free trials. The online training is easy to follow, low cost and very user friendly.