Who Needs Fire Safety Training and What Does it Involve?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 makes it a legal requirement for owners of non-domestic premises in England and Wales to take reasonable and practicable steps to prevent fires, and to protect visitors and employees against death and injury in the event of a fire. 

To comply with the Order, most employers are required to provide their workforce with fire safety training. Here we’re taking a look at who exactly needs to arrange fire safety training for employees, how often that training should be provided, and what it involves.

Photo illustrating fire safety training by Arny Mogensen

Who needs fire safety training?

Generally, if you have one or more employees or volunteers working on your business premises, then you have a legal duty as an employer to provide them with fire safety awareness training.

This means that everyone you employ should take a fire safety course, including part time staff, zero-hours contract workers, cleaning and security staff, and contractors. Everyone should be informed of your company’s fire safety procedures and escape routes during their induction too, so that they are aware of what could prove lifesaving from the very beginning.

If you are self-employed, or you work alone, fire safety training is equally important. In a lot of roles, fire safety awareness training will still be a legal requirement, especially if your work involves spending time on other premises, or in public buildings like schools and hospitals.

Even if your team consists of only one or two people, for maximum safety, you should still be providing fire safety training for employees.

It’s important to remember that knowledge saves lives. Fire awareness training can prevent fires happening and, in the event of a fire, it can keep everyone safer, as well as potentially reducing damage to your premises.

Do all employees need the same level of fire safety training?

Every workplace should have at least one designated fire marshal, responsible for making sure the correct procedures are followed in the event of a fire alarm being raised. The actual number required depends on whether your business is high, medium or low risk, and how many employees you have. Every shift will need a working fire marshal. 

Your fire risk assessment will reveal the risk level of your premises. This will be based on factors such as location, the nature of the work being carried out, whether there are any hazardous or combustible materials onsite, and the complexity of the building.

Fire marshals, also known as fire wardens, will need a greater depth of training to allow them to effectively undertake their duties. Specific fire marshal training will be required, and marshals, as well as staff with a higher degree of responsibility such as managers, department heads and floor supervisors, will also need regular refresher training.

Anyone working in a high risk position, for example engineering and maintenance staff, kitchen workers and security staff; lone workers and those responsible for vulnerable people, will also need fire safety training on a more regular basis.

What does a fire awareness training course involve?

Every workspace is different, so it’s important to appreciate that fire safety training for employees will need to be individually tailored to the business. However, the general training can be split into four main categories.

Fire prevention, regulations and business-specific rules

This area of fire safety training includes basic fire prevention specifically relating to your business, for example, the correct storage of equipment or materials. It also covers the emergency evacuation plan for your building, and the fire safety rules you expect all employees to follow, including your smoking policy. Good housekeeping, risk awareness and the terms, conditions and restrictions of any licence, certificate or registration for your premises are also included in this aspect of the fire safety course.

What to do in the event of a fire

This part of the fire safety training for employees covers what to do if a fire is discovered or the fire alarm goes off. Also included is how to sound the alarm and how to safely exit the building. If the building is open to the public, then a strategy for evacuating them will be required. Certain premises will need specific training in how to evacuate vulnerable or disabled people. Senior staff and fire marshals will also need to be trained in how to alert the fire brigade.

Equipment and good practice

This element of the fire safety awareness training involves making sure everyone knows where firefighting equipment is stored; which equipment to use for which type of fire, and how to use the equipment safely. Fire extinguisher training should be included in this part of the course. Also, team members should be educated in how to correctly store firefighting equipment; the importance of fire doors and how to use them in the event of a fire or fire warning, and any processes in place for shutting down equipment and machinery and isolating power supplies where relevant.

Fire alarms

Covered here is the location of fire alarm activation points and how to use them. Managers and fire marshals will also need to know how to report a fire incident, including small fires, accidental alarm activation and false alarms, plus major events. Fire warden training will also include fire alarm system testing.

How often should fire safety training be provided?

Fire safety awareness training should begin with induction training on the employee’s first day, followed by regular refresher fire safety training so that everyone remains familiar with your fire safety procedures.

Generally, the period between fire safety training courses should not exceed three years.

If you have a high turnover of staff, you have people responsible for the safety of vulnerable people, patients or hotel guests, or there is a high risk of fire, then you should increase the frequency of your fire safety training courses. Fire marshals should receive specific fire marshal training every six months.

Looking for fire safety training in Cumbria, Penrith, Kendal or Carlisle?

Here at BPW Fire Safety, we offer fully tailored fire safety training courses for organisations of all sizes and types.

Run by our fire service experienced fire safety experts, our fire safety training for employees is interactive, engaging and designed to make sure everyone takes in as much useful guidance as possible so that should the need arise, they’ll know exactly what to do in the event of a fire. We also offer fire marshal training for those you’ve identified as supervisors as part of your fire emergency plan.

For a tailored quote at competitive rates for fire safety training courses Cumbria, Penrith, Kendal and Carlisle wide, contact BPW Fire Safety today.


School has done this Fire Warden course a few times over the years. Callum is excellent. His huge depth of knowledge, calmness and massive on the job experience shines through. Training was updated from last time with fresh, relevant content and fresh insights. Very relevant to school settings and we learnt a few things about fire safety in our homes too! A big thanks to Callum, always so interesting to listen to and discuss school specific fire topics with.

Feedback form was 5/5 across the board 😊 Thanks Callum!


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