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Why you should have fire extinguisher training in the workplace


Raising fire awareness in any workplace is an essential part of a successful safety plan. It’s an awareness that benefits everyone – a life skill, that can be implemented at any time regardless of whether you’re at work or not. Fire safety awareness and fire extinguisher training in the workplace is one of the best and most practical places to start.

According to the Australian and International fire statistics, 95% of all fires are found to be extinguishable if the correct fire extinguisher is applied promptly. Unfortunately though, less than 25% of workers are unable to even locate their nearest fire extinguisher from memory when questioned randomly. If the right training is provided to staff in the workplace, even the most basic fire safety skills can be extremely beneficial to you and the rest of the organisation. Here’s a few reasons why every workplace should offer fire extinguisher training to their staff.

1. The Facts about Fires

Understanding how fires start, how they keep going and how they spread is one of the first steps to promoting a safer workplace. When it comes to fire safety and extinguisher training, it’s important these initial facts about fires are covered so workers can better identify the safety measures that need to be taken.

All staff in the workplace should be trained to recognise what the common fire hazards are around them. These hazards can vary significantly from workplace. In an office environment, electrical defects are a primary cause of fires. Thus, its encouraged staff pay attention to the reliability of extension cords and wiring, and to also make sure electrical equipment is kept away from combustible items. By raising a level of awareness of the facts about fires through adequate training, staff are likely to feel more confident to act accordingly.

2. Understanding Workplace Essentials

Knowing where your best fire escape is in the event of an emergency is absolutely essential for every workplace. You’ll need to familiarise yourself with other fire escape alternatives too, should the main exit be blocked off. It is the job of the manager or business owner to ensure all fire exits are clearly signed with routes that aren’t blocked and are well lit up.

The right fire extinguisher training will ensure all staff are subjected to regular fire drills. This will help people learn how to evacuate the building or job site calmly, and meet at a designated assembly point. It is a requirement of the company to provide updated fire policies and fire procedures too, with an elected fire warden to take charge in the event of a fire.

3. Legal Standards in Australia

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the employer has a legal duty to provide and maintain a healthy and safe working environment. This includes providing staff with the right training and information to promote a safe system of work.

In Australia, there’s a variety of legal standards concerning the duty of care when it comes to fires. From detection and alarms to extinguishing systems and equipment and action plans for the assessment and control of fire risks need to be put into place to meet the legal requirements. By law, portable fire extinguishers need to be inspected and serviced every six month by a properly qualified persona. Extinguishers must be in readily accessible locations known to all staff. Relevant staff members have the right to access regular fire extinguisher training under their workplace to gain awareness and understanding of what to do in an emergency situation.

4. Fire Extinguisher and Emergency Training

Thus, its vital relevant fire extinguisher and emergency training is provided to everyone in the workplace and a fire warden representative appointed.  Fire safety in the workplace helps employees and business owners to create a safe fire plan complete with evacuation procedures, planned escape routes and firefighting with the use of extinguishers.

Regular training in the workplace will promote the importance of regular inspections of fire extinguishers to keep them in good working order, what to do should you discover a fire and how to evacuate the building in safe and calm manner. By increasing the knowledge of fires and safety tactics through training, the emergency response actions are faster and much more effective.

With the proper use of a portable fire extinguisher the degree of injury, damage and cost to business in the event of a small fire can be significantly reduced or eliminated. Fire extinguisher training in the workplace will give you adequate knowledge about what types of extinguishers work best for what fires, how to use them effectively, how to understand their individual labels and number ratings and when you should fight a fire with an extinguisher.

5. Small Business Fire Safety Checklist

Besides providing staff with regular fire extinguisher and emergency training, there’s a variety of things your workplace can do to prevent an incident and promote a fire safe business.

  • Make sure all computers and machinery is serviced as recommended and kept clean. When not in use, computers and other machinery should be switched off.
  • Ensure there’s adequate lighting near fire exits and signage is made clear so all staff know where to go in the event of an emergency and where the nearest exit and fire extinguishers are.
  • Your business should have both a written and practised fire escape plan that includes full staff lists and designated meeting points. Ensure all key staff know where this information is kept.
  • The workplace needs a functional alarm system that’s suitable to your specific business for example: remote serviced alarm and smoke alarms should be equipped in a standard office workplace. Make sure fire alarms are serviced regularly.

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About the Author:

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Training Course Experts – offering highly qualified fire extinguisher and emergency training for staff by an experienced team in Perth. You can catch her on Google+.