Why does your business need to provide fire safety training? 

30 June 2021 AGF Fire Protection

fire safety training extinguishers

By law, your business is required to follow fire safety regulations. Otherwise you could risk prison or a fine. Therefore, at the very least, your business needs to provide fire safety training in order to stay within the law, although the safety of you and your employees is, of course, the main imperative.

Why is regular fire safety training so important?

We are all familiar with the saying ‘fight or flight’, and we assume that in an emergency situation, we’ll do one or the other. However, in reality, the majority of people don’t do either, and many simply freeze. There has been a lot of psychological research on why this might be, because freezing in the face of danger – known as cognitive paralysis – has proved fatal in emergency situations time and time again. Scientists believe that key to this is how well the brain’s ‘supervisory attentional system’ functions in an emergency. There are three possible responses to an emergency: the person experiences cognitive paralysis; the person panics, leading to irrational behaviour; or the person responds in a measured and appropriate way because they have been trained for just such a situation.

Practising for emergency situations will lessen the risk of your staff freezing or running around like headless chickens, putting others at risk as well as themselves. If you watch Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins, you’ll know that the reason why SAS training is so utterly brutal is to train operatives to keep calm and focused during unexpected and extreme situations. The more they practise, the more likely it is that in a real emergency, they and the people they’re looking after will survive.

The same principles apply to the Fire Service. It’s not just about having great safety equipment and being strong enough to carry someone over their shoulder, it’s about getting used to working in confined spaces in hot and oxygen-deprived conditions, as well as knowing how to use specialist equipment. And that’s why firefighters spend so much time training for different and difficult situations.

Fire evacuation training

We’ve all got used to fire drills being a part of our working lives, and many drills are ‘helpfully’ announced in advance, which allows you the chance to prepare yourself to go and stand outside for a few minutes. But when a fire drill does take place unexpectedly, how many people just sit around feeling slightly confused and wait for someone else to do something? In a real fire, these vital seconds could mean the difference between life and death. Regular, unscheduled fire evacuation training will therefore help people to react more quickly and more decisively. They will get used to leaving by the nearest fire exit as quickly as possible, without running back to their desk first because it’s a bit chilly out and they want to grab their jacket.

Fire warden training

Fire wardens are an essential part of fire evacuation, and it’s important to give additional training to employees who volunteer to become fire wardens. They will be the ones to shepherd people out of the building towards the pre-arranged assembly point and check that everyone is accounted for. And the better trained your fire wardens are, the more likely it is that all your staff and visitors will safely evacuate the building.

Fire extinguisher training

Have you ever used a fire extinguisher? And if you haven’t, will you know how to operate one if you need to? If there’s a small fire in the office, are you going to waste time fumbling around trying to read the operating instructions while a small fire becomes a big one? If you need to use reading glasses, it’s going to be even trickier if you’ve left your glasses in another room. By incorporating practical fire extinguisher training into your overall fire safety training, you will ensure your staff understand the advantages and limitations of fire extinguishers and how they can save lives. And let’s face it, being allowed to set off fire extinguishers sounds fun too!

Don’t leave fire safety to chance, contact us to find out more about our fire safety training courses.

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