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Fire Safety Training: How Frequent Should It be Done?  

If we are to rely on the law, fire safety training should be done at least once a year. But then, since there are employees who may be absent from work during fire drill or fire safety training day and with the addition of new employees during the different periods of the year, then it is highly recommended for the training to be done at least once every quarter. These fire drills are part of the fire risk assessment that is required for all businesses annually. 

But please take note that fire safety training is not only about fire drills. Another important part of this training is for select employees to be knowledgeable of what firefighting equipment the building has, where they are stores, and how they are used.  

Not all employees may need to be part of this training, but those assigned or those who have volunteered to be fire marshals and fire wardens should have this as part of their fire safety training. After all, fire wardens also need to conduct regular checks on the building’s fire risks, check on the effectiveness of the premises’ fire alarms, and conduct fire safety training for new employees. 

For example, they should know the various types of fire extinguishers: 

  • The red-striped water fire extinguishers usable for Class A fires or fires on fabrics, wood, plastic, paper, and coal; 
  • The cream-striped foam fire extinguishers that may be used for Class B fires or those caused by flammable liquids like petrol; 
  • The black-striped carbon dioxide fire extinguishers that may be used for Class B fires and electrical fires (e.g., fires caused by faulty electrical wiring);   
  • The blue-striped dry powder fire extinguishers that may be used for any fire, particularly Class C and D fires (those caused by flammable gas and metal), except those involving cooking oil (Class F fires); 
  • The yellow-striped wet chemical fire extinguishers that can be used for Class F fires; 
  • Fire blankets that can be used to cover small Class F fires. 

What Should Happen When There’s a Fire?  

Obviously, fire wardens would be the first responders in the event of a fire. They would be responsible for raining the alarm, calling emergency services, closing the doors to mitigate the spread of fire but also making sure in cooperation with the fire marshal that no one is left on the premises, leading everyone to emergency exits, making sure that PWD exit plans are implemented, and doing an attendance check in the evacuation areas. They can also be counted on to put out small fires that do not put anyone, particularly the in danger. 

Ideally, there should be two fire wardens for every 75 employees. All working schedules should have a fire warden, so they need to be nominated for every work shift. More fire wardens are also needed for an area that is high risk like hospitals, care homes, and other buildings where mobility is limited. 

The responsibility of fire safety does not rest on the building manager, business owner, or fire warden alone, though. All employees need to undergo fire safety training for everyone to recognise its importance. Also, evacuation plans need to be communicated regularly and maps of exit and evacuation routes need to be visible at all times. Finally, all employees need to know who their fire wardens are and fire wardens need to know which employees are under his/her care.