Fire Extinguisher Training: Do Employees Need To Be Trained?


Standards have played an important role in society throughout history. Railroad spacing is a standard, along with electrical outlets, computer ports and much more. There are safety standards as well. While a standard may not necessarily be a law, it can be a valuable part of your business and your life.

Australian Standard 3745-2010 is one of the important standards to consider adopting for your locations. AS 3745-2010 is a recognised best practice to form groups for workplace emergencies. This standard should play an active role in fire extinguisher training and other areas relating to workplace emergencies.

By following the AS3745-2010 guidelines, employers reduce their risk of property damage, injuries or even fatalities at their locations. This can reduce the liability for employers as well. If ignored, the company could be subjected to charges of vicarious liability where the authority in charge has an obligation to control activities and protect the workplace.

Employers should provide for emergencies and have a safety plan in place for all locations. Part of the AS3745-2010 practices include forming an Emergency Control Organisation (ECO) to create safety plans, schedule fire extinguisher training, document updates and execute safety related drills for the workplace.

Some of the items that the employer should provide as part of the ECO include:

  • An evacuation plan that can insure a safe exit for all personnel in the building including employees, tenants, and visitors
  • A means of communication during an emergency to confirm all personnel are safe and alert others of the emergency
  • Medical treatment that is sufficient for most injuries
  • Training for all employees including fire extinguisher training and how to respond during an emergency

To properly form the emergency plan, the employer can work with the ECO to:

  • Assess the current risk at the location for emergencies including fires
  • Compare the size of the workplace to the risk to determine the level of urgency
  • Consider the number of personnel that would occupy the location at various times of the day and night
  • Note persons who may have limited mobility and may need a modified emergency plan for proper evacuation or notification of the emergency

Once the information is compiled, there should be a list of items to address including emergency equipment needed, evacuation plans, alarms or alerts, and other items.

  • Address the risks to reduce the likelihood of an emergency Properly install fire equipment including extinguishers
  • Document the evacuation plan
  • Install smoke alarms and make sure there are both audible alarms as well as strobe alerts for those with hearing impairment
There is much to be considered in the emergency planning process. The ECO should review how workplace equipment should be shut down if an emergency arises, where personnel should exit and the location to congregate to confirm everyone is safe. The evacuation procedure should be documented and reviewed as part of the emergency training class. The class should be held on a regularly scheduled basis and as part of new employee orientation.

Fire extinguisher training should be held for those employees chosen by the ECO to be responsible for addressing any fire emergencies using the equipment available. The fire extinguisher training exercise is important because the employees should clearly understand the different types of fires and the class of fire extinguisher that is designed to address the fire.

To conduct fire emergency training for personnel it is best to work with a training provider that has extensive experience in this area and understands the Australian Standards. A comprehensive emergency training program can help to reduce the risk of property damage, injury, or even death in your workplace. The emergency training will also give workers peace-of-mind so that you can conduct business properly.