You may expect staff and visitors to behave in certain ways during an emergency evacuation, but this won’t always happen. so, What factors should be considered when training fire wardens to anticipate unexpected behaviour?

The Need for Fire Warden

Although the risk from fire is generally well controlled, it’s still a major hazard causing property damage and threat to a well-trained fire warden will play a key role in ensuring a successful evacuation. They will need to ensure that everyone evacuates a building when there is a fire and that no one re-enters until it has been deemed safe.


A common perception is that people panic when faced with a fire, leading to irrational and unpredictable behaviour. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The reality of behaviour in emergencies is often:

  • slow and delayed movement
  • following predictable behaviour such as continuing with work or phone calls
  • stopping to collect belongings
  • leaving a building by a familiar exit and ignoring closer exits.

 Recognition of Fire Threat

When confronted by signals which indicate a possible fire, people may:

  • ignore the warning or wait to see if it’s for real
  • go and investigate and fight the fire
  • raise the alarm and instruct others
  • flee from the situation, fail to respond, or even freeze.

Those who have experienced a fire before may recognise the threat as serious and take immediate action. Those who have never experienced a fire may be more subdued or even curious which can delay their evacuation and put them and others in danger.

Those Responsible For Others

For people who are responsible for others, e.g. directors, some managers, they will generally not evacuate a building willingly if they believe that the person(s) they’re responsible for is still inside the building and in danger. It’s imperative that this side of human nature is accounted for in a risk assessment and suitable control measures considered.

Fire Wardens

It is essential that you have well-trained fire wardens who will react quickly and decisively upon hearing an alarm. Because without this authority figure during an emergency, staff and visitor behaviours can become unmanageable, putting people and your business at risk.

TIP: When faced with the threat of fire, people do not always behave as you expect. Train fire wardens to act decisively in the event of an emergency. Their behaviour will influence others and ensure everyone reaches a place of safety, protecting your business.

If you would like to know more about how Safety Aide can provide Fire Warden Training for your business, please get in touch on 08000 806 801.