Fire safety training – an essential element of fire protection planning

By Mark Gowans, managing director, Wormald ANZ

Serious fires can result in injury, fatality, property loss, significant damages and lengthy downtime.  Although it is not always possible to prevent a fire, every business should be adequately prepared so that the impact of fire to people and property is minimised.

As well as having the correct fire safety solutions in place, organisations must consider the importance of staff fire safety training.  Training is an essential line of defence against fire and the impact of a crisis can be substantially reduced when people are trained to respond appropriately.  A confident team that is able to respond appropriately is an invaluable investment for a business.

Fire safety training can help to ensure that effective plans and procedures are formulated and ready to be executed if there is a fire.  Every employee should be aware of evacuation procedures, the latest regulations and how to use fire protection equipment so they can confidently manage an emergency situation.

According to the Australian Standard, AS 3745-2010 – Planning for emergencies in facilities, businesses should develop an effective emergency plan, and emergency related training is a vital element of this plan.

Fire safety training provides staff with the knowledge, skills and confidence to make the right decisions and act quickly.  When a fire breaks out, the highest priority is to get the occupants of a building out of harm’s way and trained staff will provide the best chance for this to happen in a methodical and efficient manner.

Training can provide employees with an awareness of how different types of fires can start.  It can also instill in them the confidence required to respond effectively and use the most appropriate fire protection equipment.

Recent amendments to AS 3745 have implications for fire safety training.  In accordance with the current Standard, it is now mandatory that training is conducted for at least one member of the Emergency Planning Committee, for the Emergency Control Organisation (ECO) and for the facility occupants.  Furthermore, ECO members must attend skills retention training every six months.  Training content and requirements have significantly expanded under the amended Standard.

There are many training options available for businesses and their staff including warden training, emergency awareness training, evacuation training, fire extinguisher training, breathing apparatus training, spill response training and confined space entry training to name but a few.  Depending on your industry, your fire protection specialist will be able to advise on the best options for you.

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