What is “Fire Training, Warden Training or Emergency Control Organisation Training” and why is it needed?
The term “fire training” is the common description for instruction given to those who take charge in fire emergencies.
Planning for emergencies has evolved from just planning for fire but also planning for a range of emergencies. The Australian Standard for Planning for emergencies in facilities – AS3745 now refers to these wardens as the “Emergency Control Organisation” (ECO). For those in the health care industry, Australian Standard 4083 refers to Emergency Coordinators and Emergency Officers. So whether you know it as fire training, warden training or training the Emergency Control Organisation,
the important thing is to get content that complies to the required standard. The training received by the Emergency Control Organisation is specified by AS3745. It details content and frequency. Basically, the Emergency Control Organisation should receive initial training in their duties and then meet twice a year for “skills retention sessions”. As it sounds, a skills retention session helps wardens remain competent. Compliance Emergency Planning recommends that give facilities plan a program of training for their warden team in accordance with AS3745 to ensure compliance with industry best practice. Complying with the Standard shows that an employer has taken reasonable steps to ensure the safety of employees in the workplace even in an emergency. This is one way the employer can show compliance with Work Health and Safety legislation.
Of course, there are many reasons why a single warden training session would be appropriate and Compliance Emergency Planning provides this option. Warden training sessions can provide the initial skill set needed by members of the Emergency Control Organisation or be one of the skills retention sessions described by the Standard.
Content of the warden training to develop skills and knowledge necessary to undertake the duties detailed in the emergency includes:
- The duties of the Emergency Control Organisation as described in the emergency response procedures and emergency plan.
- Procedures for the specific emergencies contained in the emergency plan.
- Responding to alarms and reports of emergencies.
- Reporting emergencies and initiating the installed emergency warning equipment.
- Communication during emergencies.
- Pre-emergency activities
- Emergency activities.
- Post-emergency activities.
- Occupants and visitors with disabilities.
- Human behaviour during emergencies.
- The use of installed emergency response equipment.
- The performance of the building and its installations during a fire or other emergency.
This indicates that while there are some principles that need to be explained, training needs to be specific to the facility too. Compliance Emergency Planning delivers training that is strong on the principles of Emergency Control Organisation duties, but is also customised to ensure the nuances of the facility are explained and considered.
The content of Skill Retention sessions is also defined by the Standard. The subjects below give a wide range of issues to address. The Standard also allows training on other subjects in addition to this list.
- Command and control.
- Safe, effective actions to take control of workplace emergencies.
- Pre-emergency planning.
- Reacting safely to emergencies.
- Emergencies that may occur.
- Procedures for specific emergencies.
- Specialized equipment use.
- Pre- and post-emergency servicing requirements
- Responding to identified emergencies.
The content of warden training or “fire training” has shifted from an emphasis on how to use fire extinguishers or other first attack firefighting equipment to safe reaction to all the emergencies identified for the facility.
At Compliance Emergency Planning we take pleasure in ensuring the right balance of content is delivered to the wardens, making sure wardens learn and develop their skills without repeating the same content in a boring manner. There is a wealth of interesting learning in the area of skills retention which Compliance Emergency Planning delivers with enthusiasm and conviction, while responding to the current needs of the Emergency Control Organisation.
The Standard gives good direction on when to deliver each type of training. It specifies that once wardens have received their initial training, an emergency response exercise should be conducted to test the procedures and the Emergency Control Organisation members within the first twelve months. Following the first exercise skills retention training can be applicable. Compliance Emergency Planning takes into account the possibility of new members joining the Emergency Control Organisation and can ensure they become equipped to respond to emergencies.
Note, too, that warden training content should be based on the emergency response procedures that have been prepared for the facility. This reinforces the collective approach of AS3745 to have a combination of measures in place to provide safety in emergencies. To see all the measure required to comply with AS3745, refer to the Compliance Emergency Planning Package page.
In the field of health care particular requirements are described in AS 4083 Planning for emergencies- Health care facilities. This standard puts the onus on the operator of the facility to provide adequate training that meets the needs of the facility. It prescribes annual training for staff and expects the operator of the facility to ensure that those responsible for taking control in emergencies are adequately prepared.
Compliance Emergency Planning can provide training for wardens and all staff in health care facilities to meet this duty of care.
Warden training twice a year is the minimum with AS3745.