Conducting workplace firefighter training with employees is essential for them to gain skills such as spotting dangers, completing a fire risk assessment, taking action to prevent fires, and finally understanding how to respond in an emergency caused by a fire. All of these are essential abilities that enable employees to react confidently and appropriately when dealing with fire hazards in the workplace. It is also a requirement as part of the Health and Safety Act that employers have employees in their place of work that are trained to act as fire wardens.
What is Firefighter Training?
A one- or two-day firefighter training course is useful in educating individuals to understand the relationship between fire safety and prevention, as well as the importance of good housekeeping in the workplace. Once the course is completed, and should a fire occur at your workplace, you will be equipped to act as a responsible employee who knows how to use firefighting equipment and fire extinguishers and correctly manage a fire emergency.
Why is fire safety education and training important?
Thousands of people die every year in South Africa due to fires and many are left homeless or injured. Fires also have a monetary cost in terms of damage to buildings and materials as well as loss of income. Attending a firefighter training gives you the insight to ensure that when you are faced with a fire situation, you don’t become a victim yourself. Personal safety is very important and you should always ensure your own safety before helping anyone else. Preventative measures are the best method for stopping or preventing a fire from ever happening.
What are the different types of fire safety training?
Absolute Health Services offers 2 different types of fire safety training courses:
- Firefighting course – this short but comprehensive 1-day course is accredited with the Health and Welfare SETA and provides delegates with good theoretical knowledge such as fire prevention principles, classes of fire, different types of firefighting equipment and how to practically handle it.
- Advanced Firefighting course – this is a 2-day course and covers all of the above as well as additional practical exercises and demonstrations which the delegates participate in. The course is aimed at high-risk environments or companies that need their fire wardens to be well prepared in the event of a fire emergency.
How to Respond if a Fire Starts
In the case of a workplace fire, do you know what your company’s emergency plan or procedure is? An emergency plan specifies what to do in an unexpected or emergency situation. It assists the OHS team and employer in preventing injuries, reducing damage and protecting the workplace and employees.
- All employees have a role to play in the emergency plan – whether it is by being part of the OHS team i.e. fire wardens; evacuation marshals; first aiders, or just being vigilant, responsible and aware when it comes to fire hazards or risks.
- All buildings should have a fire alarm that can be activated should a fire occur so that the occupants are notified and can make their escape. These alarms are usually found close to an escape route or fire escape door and can be in the form of a manual call point or as simple as a loud and clear horn.
- All employees must leave the area immediately. The fire warden should do a sweep of the rooms before closing the doors behind them.
- Designated assembly areas are located outside the building. This is where you must go for roll call so that the OHS team can ensure that everyone is accounted for.
- If you need to fight a small fire with a portable extinguisher, there are a few basic rules:
- If the fire is raging and out of control, DO NOT attempt to extinguish it. Exit the building and leave the fire for the professional fire fighters.
- If it is small enough to extinguish, make sure you have the correct extinguisher for the type of fire. This information is covered in the 1-day firefighting course.
- Point the hose at the fire, aim correctly, squeeze the trigger and make a sweeping motion across the fire to put it out.
How often should fire & safety training be carried out?
Once a course is completed, the certificate is valid for 2-years. It is advisable to renew your certificate and refresh your skills after this period.
Absolute Health Services are accredited by the Health & Welfare SETA to offer firefighting training which can be delivered on-site as a workplace course for groups of 8 delegates or more, or delegates can train at one of our training centre venues in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, or Cape Town.