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Fire marshals and first aiders in a hybrid office

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jennielouises
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Fire marshals and first aiders in a hybrid office

Post by jennielouises »

Our company is planning to be fully flexible with where people work when we reopen on 21st June so that means we can't guarantee who will be in the office on what day. We know for sure the office managers will be in 5 days a week but they will obviously have holiday etc. I'm at a loss as to what to do about fire marshals and first aiders. The office managers will be trained but there could be up to 60 people in the office. I originally thought about training everyone, which is fine, but then we need to make sure someone takes overall responsibility if the fire drill went off etc. When the office manager is there it will be them but, as I said, they may be off on holiday or off sick. Has anyone else come across this issue and thought of a way around it?
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Re: Fire marshals and first aiders in a hybrid office

Post by Messy »

I sympathise with your problem as one office I look after has had staff numbers reduced to around 2000 staff working odd and very flexible/long hours throughout the pandemic creating significant fire marshall and first aider cover issues.


In your case, do you use a roll call or sweep method of accounting for staff?

If a sweep method (involving staff checking areas are clear before they evacuate), I might try and train a few more staff - to achieve maybe 10 to 15 fire marshalls. That is a fairly large proportion for a max occupancy of 60 people

Instead of attempting to train everyone in a conventional manner, instead, you may wish send an instruction to all that in the event of no fire marshall being available, staff should check around their floor or area as they leave.

Without knowing the layout of the building or any details, this may well be sufficient as an interim arrangement until covid is better controlled and normality is returned

Similarly, there will almost certainly managers working every day. Why cant these managers (or a number of them) take the role of being ‘in charge’ when the Office Manager isn't available? This isn't a covid issue, as there should be a plan B for absences

Good luck!
jennielouises
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Re: Fire marshals and first aiders in a hybrid office

Post by jennielouises »

Before the pandemic we had a sweep method as no one signs in. I can't guarantee there will be a manager on site at all times either. Our people are going to be managed remotely as it has worked so well over the course of the pandemic so no need for a manager to be in the same place as them. I also can't guarantee that the same 15 people will be here enough. I thought about giving full training to anyone here 3 days a week or more and then just online fire marshal training to everyone else.

You are right though, this is an issue about managing the whole office is the office manager is off. They are the only ones who will are guaranteed to be in the office 5 days a week
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Re: Fire marshals and first aiders in a hybrid office

Post by stephen1974 »

You can give fire marshal training to everyone, but without a designated person in charge you will have problems, you might have 5 people doing the same things but no one doing something else. You might have everyone thinking, someone else will do it, and nothing gets done.

Instead, I would focus on creating a new evacuation plan and that is simple to follow. The problem comes when you want to do sweeps of the building and you have to ask yourself is this practicle? and are there alternatives you could implement or things you can use to mitigate the lack of sweeps.

You mentioned you don't do signing in, well, you could start. Have the book in a location where it is easy to collect on the way out and put it in the evac procedure that its picked up by anyone who passes by it. You could have a call list in the back of the book so if you think someone is missing you can try and get hold of them to check. That saidm up to 60 people is a lot of signing in and out.

Instead of a signing in book, perhaps look at a visitors app system employees can use to sign in on their mobiles. I'll be honest, I don't know if any could do the job, i've literally just thought it up, but a quick search online bought up an number of such apps that might be able to do the job. Hopefully a list could then be pulled up to use as a roll call. This company offers a free trial, might be worth a look https://software-info.capterra.com/tds- ... management

You could look at limiting the work area, so people are not on multiple floors or multiple offices that are difficult to get to. (Offices off of an escape route are easily checked as you leave) That way if someone is missing chances are someone will realise it as they would have seen them in the workplace but not at the assembly point.

You could look at collective sweeping along rooms connected to the escape route. By this I mean its written in the evac procedure thats its everyones responsibility to check rooms directly connected to the escape route as they leave the building. That way you dont have to ely on specific individuals being on site.

What ever you choose to do, test it out. Physically walk through the procedure looking for issues that will prevent it from working and adjust accordingly.

One thing you will need to find people to do though is someone to walk the buildings escape routes each morning to ensure they are not blocked and that fire doors/escapes are not locked and are working as intended.

For first aid, again, you will want a written procedure. It may be as simple as call 999. Or, you could perhaps work out an arrangement with an adjacent business where they always have a first aider present. You may not get the cooperation but if you do, that helps with immediate attention / assessment whilst waiting for the paramedics. Post the procedure in prominent places, first aid room, first aid boxes, staff room, cafe, notice boards, etc where it can quickly be accessed.
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