What does a company fire marshal do?

A fire marshal or fire warden is a critical member of any company’s safety team. Their role is to assist the company’s “responsible person” in fulfilling the company’s fire safety responsibilities. The “responsible person” could be multiple people, but is typically the business owner or landlord.

In the unlikely event that a fire occurs, fire marshals are responsible for ensuring the safe evacuation of occupants. Average fire marshal duties consist of handling inspections and audits, and ensuring evacuation plans are up to date.

UK businesses should have someone in the role of company fire marshal for both the safety of their staff and to ensure compliance with any legal requirements.

emergency exit light

What does a workplace need to do to comply with the law?

Under UK legislation, companies are expected to put fire safety procedures in place. These should be reviewed on a regular basis and communicated to all employees. A fire marshal should ensure that the company’s safety procedures are properly maintained and tested, but does not necessarily need to be the person who puts them in place.

Who should take up the role of fire marshal?

Typically, the responsible person will appoint a suitably responsible individual who has experience in fire safety and evacuation procedures.

A company’s first choice of candidate should possess:

• A desire to make the workplace as safe as possible for staff and visitors;

• An understanding of fire safety;

• The ability to communicate effectively in the event of a fire;

It can be undertaken by a senior member of staff or alternatively, an external specialist could be appointed for assistance.

What does a fire marshal control in the workplace?

A fire marshal should be able to advise on and implement various fire prevention controls such as:

• Electrical equipment installation and inspection procedures

• Emergency lighting testing and maintenance

• Fire escape planning and risk assessment

Carrying out a fire risk assessment and preparing a fire safety policy and procedures document will help to ensure that everyone in the company knows how to stay safe during an emergency.

A business should assess any risks to employees, visitors, or members of the public, and record these assessments in writing so that they can be communicated to those responsible for managing those risks.

There are a nm

Fire drills

Drills should be carried out on at least an annual basis, if not more regularly. These drills should be documented and the results reviewed by the responsible person in charge of fire safety.

There are also responsibilities around maintaining adequate escape routes at all times and ensuring that any employees with specific requirements (such as people who are disabled or pregnant) can leave the building safely

Fire Extinguishers

Businesses are required to have fire extinguishers fitted at all locations where people work. One extinguisher per 200 square metres of floor space is recommended by British Standards 5306. This includes the entire building, internal and external areas. The extinguisher must be positioned inside any room or other internal area where there are potential fire hazards, such as flammable liquids, chemicals or uncovered electrical equipment.

a row of fire extinguishers

The company fire marshal must ensure that each fire extinguisher is easily accessible in an emergency.

Smoke detectors

The legislation surrounding fire detection doesn’t specify the method of detection, simply that there must be a system in space to warn occupants of a fire. The most effective way to achieve this is via the use of smoke detectors or fire alarms, which are ideally installed throughout the building on every level.

smoke detector on ceiling

Emergency lighting

Emergency lighting must be tested and kept in good working order. It is the responsibility of the designated fire marshal to ensure that there is a working emergency lighting system in place.

emergency exit light in dark room

Electrical devices

Businesses should ensure that electrical equipment and appliances are installed and maintained in line with British standards. The company fire marshal should conduct inspections to ensure that the electrical equipment is safe and complies with all current legislation.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is recommended for any electrical equipment within the workplace.

What happens if you fail a safety inspection?

It is the responsibility of every business to ensure their premises are compliant with all relevant safety legislation. Health and safety is a shared responsibility, and every member of staff plays a role in ensuring a safe working environment.

This doesn’t mean that everyone has equal responsibility, however, as it ultimately lands on the “responsible person” to ensure that all safety and fire precautions are taken and that the site follows all legal requirements.

Fire marshal training courses

Fire Marshals are a vital component in ensuring the safety of staff and customers. It is more important than ever that these individuals have not just knowledge but also skills when dealing with fires or emergencies situation- which means they need training! There’s plenty out there; from convenient online courses for those who don’t want any physical labor, or through in-person sessions offered by fire department trainers and both local and national chains alike – whatever you choose make sure it’s accredited so you know you’re getting your money’s worth.

Standout Academy offers accredited online training for fire marshals, along with other relevant fire safety courses. Try out a free trial today.


What’s the difference between a fire warden and a fire marshal?

A fire warden is simply another title for a fire marshal, although some larger companies may choose to use both titles to distinguish between the two designated roles.

What is the role of a responsible person?

The role of a responsible person is to oversee the safety and wellbeing of those who work within their premises. This includes ensuring that there is a fire marshal in place and that all safety policies and procedures are clearly documented.

What qualifications do I need to work as a fire marshal?

Anyone can become a fire marshal with the right training. Most companies will be satisfied by the completion of a fire safety training course but may require further experience if hiring an individual specifically for the role.