Should Employees Have Fire Extinguisher Training?
8th Feb 2018
As an employer you have a seemingly endless list of responsibilities. None of these responsibilities are more important or have more costly ramifications than the safety of your employees. Part of your duty in ensuring the safety of your employees is to provide all of the necessary fire safety information, instruction and training. More precisely:
“You must provide clear, appropriate information and instruction (and training where necessary) to your employees”.
Your responsibilities therefore branch into training employees in the use of equipment, including fire extinguishers. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 doesn’t state specifically an employer’s requirements to train employees, only to do so where necessary. There are no outlines on who, how often or when.
When Is It “Necessary”?
It’s widely regarded that anyone who’s expected to need to use a fire extinguisher in a business should be trained in its use. This primarily includes fire wardens, who are the first line of defence in an emergency. They are expected to act swiftly and so training is absolutely necessary to ensure that experience and confidence overcome panic and nerves.
In certain circumstances there might be a policy in place that staff do not attempt to use an extinguisher, but of course in most cases tackling a small fire before it takes hold is the obvious choice.
Many businesses are at a higher risk of fire through everyday operations, particularly in industrial settings. In these instances, all employees may be required to be trained in fire extinguisher use, especially if surrounded by a mix of different types of extinguisher for different fire risks types.
In various studies by recognised fire trade organisations it was consistently discovered that over 80% of fires tackled by a portable fire extinguisher are successfully extinguished, and in 75% of those cases the Fire Service was not required to attend the scene.
Combine these statistics with a group training rate of as little as £28 per person – which includes practical fire extinguisher training – it’s a low cost investment in the safety and security of your business.
Fire risk assessments also help to reduce the risk of fires starting and spreading throughout a business. While companies are encouraged to hire a third-party professional to oversee this process, it can be managed in-house by a 'responsible' person. To understand exactly what's involved download our helpful checklist.
What is Fire Extinguisher Training?
Fire extinguisher training is all about ensuring that, in the event of an emergency, the nearest or delegated person is capable of tackling that fire. The longer it takes for the fire to be extinguished, the harder it becomes for it to be tackled by a portable extinguisher.
Fire extinguisher training gives employees “hands-on” experience with an extinguisher and a live fire. This is generated by a safe and controlled gas fuelled training rig which is set up outdoors.
They’ll know exactly what to do in the moment, and they can tackle the fire without panic. This gives your business, employees and building the best possible chance of surviving a fire in the workplace.