In any business building, no matter the structure or amount of employees, safety needs to be a priority, and a fire marshal helps you to keep on top of them. The reason for this is rather straightforward. During emergency situations, a panicked mob can be a separate hazard itself and multiplies the probability of somebody getting hurt.
A need for a person (or a group of people in larger buildings) becomes quite apparent when we take this into account. Panic and confusion are contagious and there needs to be someone who knows what the safest course of action is and reacts by getting everyone to safety.
Even though there is a considerable improvement when we take a look at the statistics in the UK related to fires, this has a lot to do with the rise of general awareness about fire hazards. Still, in the period between 2012 and 2013, there were 22,500 fires recorded in non-residential buildings with 17 fatal casualties and 1,013 non-fatal casualties. This is far from a negligible number and demonstrates why fire marshals are needed.
Who Are The Fire Marshals?
Fire marshals or fire wardens are civilians, trained to recognise threats from fire and help during the evacuation process by leading people to safety. The fire marshal needs to be known to everyone so employees know who to turn to if a fire-related emergency arises. It also needs to be stressed that the authority of fire marshals needs to be respected or otherwise, the whole thing loses its effectiveness. Any new employees need to be made aware who the designated fire marshal for their area is.
A Fire Marshal Covers A Wide Range Of Duties
In case of a fire, the marshal needs to make sure that each and every person has safely vacated the premises and check all the rooms that are accessible to employees and non-employees, including the toilets. In essence, they make sure nobody gets left behind unaware of the potential threat. The fire marshals are also required to notify the proper authorities in the case of an emergency. They also need to take care that each door is closed after the building has been vacated to prevent the fire from spreading and assist the containment of the flames. This makes it easier for the fire service.
As a part of their secondary responsibilities, they also need to make sure that all the firefighting equipment is in working order, located at strategically optimal positions and that all the fire exit doors work properly. Faulty equipment and malfunctioning doors can turn a simple situation into a very serious hazard.
Fire Marshal Training
This isn’t a position that can be filled by just anyone. The people chosen for this duty need to be authoritative and clear-headed. On top of that, they need to undergo proper training in order to have the necessary knowledge to handle the situation and anticipate possible threats along the way. Fire hazards, no matter how small, need to be taken seriously because each and every fire incident can escalate quickly if it is not handled properly.