Do fire wardens have to be available around the clock?
We operate a 52-bed residential aged care facility that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We currently have two maintenance workers trained as fire wardens who work 5 days a week, 8am–4pm, so aren’t present around the clock.
We have allocated registered nurses as team leaders on every shift and they double as emergency coordinators. However, they don’t receive any further training than our mandatory fire and emergency training, which is delivered to all staff annually.
Should we have trained fire wardens on all shifts, 24/7 – for instance, by training all registered nurses to be fire wardens? Also, is there a need to have deputy fire wardens?
Being a facility that operates around the clock, you should have trained fire wardens who will be present at any one time. The number of trained fire wardens you should have at one time will depend on what is reasonably practicable for your business to eliminate or reduce the risk of a fire/explosion and ensure you are prepared for a fire/explosion. This may depend on the size of the levels/areas of the facility and the gravity of risks on each level or in each area.
The need to have deputy fire wardens will depend on what is reasonably required to ensure you comply with your legal obligations in relation to fire safety. Generally, it is quite common for a medium to large sized business to have a chief warden and a deputy warden for the whole workplace and, depending on the size of the floors and extent of risks, a floor warden for each floor and area wardens for different areas on each floor.