Warden training and responsibilities

  • Become a warden


    If you would like to become a warden, contact your building's chief warden. If you are not sure who this is, try checking the emergency posters by the lifts or next to major doors in the building, ask your supervisor or look at the building emergency resource database (lists all chief wardens).

    Qualities that are desirable for a warden to have include:

    • experience, through training in emergency procedures and drills
    • knowledge of the culture of staff in your building (eg: where smokers go to smoke)
    • trust of their fellow staff
    • ability to think clearly and make decisions
    • leadership – wardens should use an autocratic style of leadership when evacuating their area
    • limitations – wardens need to know their own limitations (eg: fear of heights)
    • quick responses when it comes to implementing actions effectively.

    Chief Warden

    The Emergency Planning Specialist maintains a building emergency resource database listing all the University's Chief Wardens and their contact details.

    If you would like to become a chief warden:

    1. Check whether your current building already has a chief warden (look on the building emergency resources database or ask your management).
    2. Discuss your interest with your local dean, head of department or senior staff member. If there is more than one department in your building, all the departments will need to discuss the matter.
    3. To be added or removed from the database please email emergency management.
  • Step down as a warden


    If you change buildings, or otherwise wish to resign your duties as a warden, please advise your building's chief warden as soon as possible, so that recruitment for your replacement can commence quickly.

    Chief Warden

    Existing chief wardens, if you would like to leave the role, or if you stop working in your current building:

    Do this as soon as possible, so that recruitment for your replacement can start quickly.

  • Training and equipment


    Chief Wardens, Deputy Chief Wardens and Wardens must have valid warden training and fire extinguisher training. Search for available training provided by the University Services Health & Safety team.


    All wardens need:

    • an identification helmet
      • Warden: a yellow safety cap with 'WARDEN' embroidered on the front or a yellow helmet with 'WARDEN' stickers on each side and the University crest on the front. At some campuses this helmet may be red, which is also allowed by the Australian Standard.
      • Chief Warden: a white safety cap with 'CHIEF WARDEN' embroideredon the front or a white helmet with stickers on each side and the University crest on the front.
    • a torch for use in case of a blackout (optional)
    • a megaphone (optional)
    • a list of employees in the area, if practical, to assist in accounting for people in the assembly area (optional).
    • Chief wardens will also need a pager.

    Wardens should consult their chief warden, who is responsible for ordering the appropriate equipment and helmets.

    Chief wardens should contact emergency management to request these items on behalf of themselves and their wardens. Items issued by the emergency management team are free to authorised wardens. All equipment remains the property of the University and must be returned if you leave your position as a warden.

  • Responsibilities during an emergency


    Wardens are responsible for enacting emergency procedures.

    During an emergency, wardens will wear a yellow safety helmet with 'WARDEN' stickers on each side and the University crest on the front. At some campuses, this helmet may be red, which is also allowed by the Australian Standard.

    On sounding of the building evacuation alarm, the warden will:

    1. wear the yellow warden helmet
    2. enter each accessible room, including toilets, and direct occupants to leave the building. Do not open doors which have hot handles or smoke coming from under door
    3. direct the special duties officers to start their prescribed duties
    4. report to the chief warden on the state of evacuation of their floor
    5. take direction from the chief warden
    6. prevent re-entry to building.

    Chief warden

    Chief wardens are responsible for:

    • developing and maintaining appropriate building evacuation procedures
    • appointing, in conjunction with management, members of the emergency control organisation for the building
    • maintaining a register of current members of the building ECO
    • ensuring that such persons receive training in emergency procedures undertaking control of all emergency situations until relieved of duty by other emergency professional such as the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB)
    • maintaining and updating the building emergency information book (dangerous goods buildings only).

    In the absence of the chief warden, the deputy chief warden will take over these functions.

    During an emergency, the chief warden will wear a white safety helmet with 'CHIEF WARDEN' stickers on each side and the University crest on the front.

    On sounding of the building evacuation alarm, the chief warden will:

    1. Wear the white chief warden helmet.
    2. Proceed to the building emergency control station (usually at the fire indicator board).
    3. Check the fire indicator panel (FIP) and take reasonable steps to ascertain the cause of the alarm. (eg: send a runner to the location).
    4. Ensure that Security has been contacted on +61 3 8344 6666.
    5. Establish and maintain contact with the University Asset Services (Maintenance) Officers in attendance who have responsibility for the control of services (gas, water, and electricity).
    6. Receive reports from floor wardens or section wardens on the state of evacuation of their areas of responsibility, and record this on an evacuation checklist.
    7. Direct the floor wardens to:
      • remain at the control point
      • go to a floor which has not been evacuated, or
      • proceed to the assembly point.
    8. Maintain control over the evacuation procedures until relieved by the senior public authority officer.
    9. Advise the senior public authority officer of the state of evacuation of the building, and liaise with the officer until the termination of the emergency.

    When the emergency is terminated, the chief warden will:

    1. Inform the building occupants at the assembly point to return to the building.
    2. Prepare a building evacuation report and forward the report to emergency management.
    3. Convene a debriefing meeting of the emergency evacuation team and relevant personnel to assess and improve procedure.
    4. Inform Asset Services (Maintenance) of any problems that may be maintenance related (eg: failure of systems, unsafe conditions, etc).
    5. Implement recommendations from the meeting.
  • Responsibilities during other times


    Wardens are responsible for reporting safety hazards to the chief warden, including:

    • any obstructions to egress routes within building
    • local changes in the use of the building, hazardous goods or equipment, or members of the emergency evacuation team
    • fire isolating doors which are prevented from closing unaided, and
    • faulty or missing fire extinguishers.

    Staff undertaking duties as emergency personnel may be exposed to human products where there is a risk of transmission of disease. Staff volunteering for these duties may be required to receive vaccinations.

    Chief Warden

    Non-emergency responsibilities include:

    • modifying the University model emergency evacuation procedures for the building, and document the procedures in the building emergency information book. They must update this book annually.
    • determining the appropriate structure for the building ECO
    • appointing all members of the building ECO and arrange replacements as occupancy of the building changes, in consultation with the appropriate dean, head of department or senior staff within the building
    • maintaining a register of current members of the building ECO
    • coordinating the training for new members of the Building ECO as they are appointed, in cooperation with the emergency management coordinator
    • reporting obstructions to aisles, passageways, stairways and fire exits, and taking such action as they are able to correct the problem
    • nominating times and dates of at least one emergency evacuation drill per year for each building
    • preparing and mounting notices regarding evacuation procedures and the duties of occupants in the event of an emergency, in consultation with the emergency management coordinator
    • determining the most appropriate evacuation routes for the building and ensuring that floor wardens advise occupants accordingly
    • reporting overcrowding of rooms to the person with management and control
    • maintaining the building emergency information book in buildings with a Risk Rating 1 (ie: those that have dangerous goods or large numbers of staff or students) developed with the emergency management coordinator, including a record of dangerous goods and equipment in the building
    • sending copies of all building emergency information book amendments to the Security Office
    • determine the assembly point location in consultation with the emergency management coordinator, and taking steps to make occupants aware of the location
    • constructing a plan of action to deter persons from entering the building after the alarm has sounded (eg: delegate staff to stand at entrances to prevent entry)
    • preparing an evacuation plan for the lecture theatres, class rooms and teaching laboratories and implement action items (eg: evacuation of lecture theatres, classrooms, and teaching laboratories)
  • Warden documents
    • Building evacuation checklist
      The chief warden uses this evacuation checklist during an emergency evacuation. As the wardens report in to the chief warden, the chief will record which areas have been cleared and anything they have to report. This form will help to brief the emergency services or the emergency management coordinator when they arrive on scene. This is an example document that the chief warden can change to suit their particular building.
    • Building evacuation report
      Chief wardens use this form to record all emergency evacuations (including drills) from University premises.
    • Evacuation maps
      CAD floor plans with evacuation routes highlighted. Evacuation maps are posted in every University owed or controlled building. The Emergency Management Coordinator oversees their placement. If you require evacuation maps in your building, please contact emergency management with the building number and floor details.
    • Emergency contacts template
      Template for an emergency contacts A4 poster listing local emergency response personnel.
    • Evacuation posters
      These posters provide general evacuation guidance and are posted in each building. The emergency management coordinator oversees their placement. Contact emergency management to request posters for specific buildings.
    • Personal emergency evacuation plan
      Personal emergency evacuation plan (PEEP) is used if an building occupant requires additional assistance in the event of an emergency. To be completed by the Chief Warden and the occupant requiring additional assistance.
    • Warden Handbook
      Resource and training support to assist in performing roles and responsibilities to facilitate safe, orderly and timely evacuation and planned 'drill' exercises.