Fire Marshal Duties – 23 Ways to Keep Your Premises Safe

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Fire Marshal responsibilities are one of the most important contributions to fire safety in your business.

Are you clear what they are? Our simple guide below explains all.

It might surprise you to learn that the main part of Fire Marshal duties is to prevent fires.

But before we address that let’s first answer the question – what is a fire warden? In the UK, fire wardens and fire marshals are the same; it’s simply put a person chosen by the owner or workplace manager to provide them with necessary assistance in terms of fire safety. That can mean maintenance or testing fire safety equipment or organising fire safety training.

Sure, they have an important role to play in evacuating the building and containing and tackling small blazes in the unhappy event that a fire occurs, but it’s the day-to-day duties that can bring the most benefit.

15 ‘Proactive’ Fire Marshal duties that could keep your business safe from fire.

1: Checking your EMERGENCY EXITS. They should be free from obstruction at all times, inside and out, and able to be opened.

2: Checking your FIRE EXTINGUISHERS. Are they in the right position, have they been serviced, and are they indicated by signs?

3: Checking your FIRE DOORS weekly. Are they in good working order and are they being kept closed?

4: Checking your ‘BREAK GLASS CALL POINTS‘. These are the devices fixed to the wall where you can manually sound the fire alarm by breaking the glass. They should always be visible and indicated by signs.

5: Checking your EMERGENCY LIGHTING every month. All the lights should be in working order and if they aren’t, an electrician or fire safety company should be contacted.

6: Testing your FIRE ALARM weekly. We’ve all experienced the weekly fire alarm test, what we might not have known is it’s often a fire marshal’s duty to carry it out.

7: Checking your FIRE SAFETY SIGNS. Are the right signs in the right places and happily and securely stuck?

8: Checking your GENERAL HOUSEKEEPING. Are combustible materials stored away from sources of heat? And are exit routes kept clear and free of clutter?

9: Checking your SMOKING AREAS. Are they kept clean and ashtrays emptied regularly?

10: Controlling your HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. Are flammable liquids and other dangerous substances kept correctly?

11: Carrying out NEW STAFF SAFETY INDUCTIONS. Did you know that all new starters must have fire safety awareness training, and all staff should have an annual refresher?

12: Making sure electrical devices are PAT TESTED. Faulty electrical devices are one of the most common causes of workplaces fires.

13: Organising FIRE DRILLS at least annually. Your team should know how to exit the building in case of fire and the evacuation procedure should be assessed to make sure it works.

14: Managing all PAPERWORK AND THE LOGBOOK. Legislation requires that all fire safety activities are accurately documented.

15: Owning your FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT. Alongside your ‘Responsible Person’, your Fire Marshals can help deliver the recommendations in your Fire Risk Assessment.

fire marshal responsibilities and duties

So far, so good.  But what if, despite all your Fire Marshals’ best efforts, you’re unlucky enough to have a fire? Well, we’ve got a guide for that too.

Here are 8 ‘Reactive’ Fire Marshal duties to be carried out in case of fire.

16:  RAISING THE ALARM in case of fire. And contacting the fire brigade too, if you’re business isn’t automatically linked to the services.

17: Closing DOORS AND FIRE DOORS to help prevent fire spreading.

18: Pointing people towards the EMERGENCY EXITS. Does everyone know where to go and how to proceed?

19: Assisting DISABLED OR PREGNANT team members. Fire Marshals should have a ‘buddy’ or ‘PEEP’ system (‘Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan’) in place for more vulnerable colleagues.

20: Conducting a FLOOR SWEEP. Has everyone left the premises? The sweep should include toilets and walk-in storage areas.

21: Tackling small blazes with FIRE EXTINGUISHERS. Your Fire Marshals should know how to use an extinguisher and be confident using one to fight a small fire safely.

22: Helping with the ROLL CALL and making sure everyone exited safely and all the absences are accounted for. And where should a roll call be carried out? Usually, at the fire assembly points located outside the building.

As you can see, the Fire Marshal responsibilities and duties are both specific and specialised.  Your Fire Marshals should be fully trained and have their training refreshed regularly. Still, one more question remains – what about the rest? What responsibilities do all staff have during a fire incident?

The most important duty is to take care of their own safety as well as the others, while not putting anybody at risk. The staff should remain calm, evacuate in a quick and organised manner and simply follow procedures. Using extinguishers or fighting a fire themselves is only encouraged when it’s safe enough to do so. Their own wellbeing should be the priority.

Read our useful guide ‘how many Fire Marshals do I need?‘ or learn about the importance of fire safety in general.

See our Fire Marshal Training Course for businesses and fire wardens.

Read about Fire Safety in the Workplace at