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Board Report: 2013-AE-B-016 September 30, 2013

The Board Should Improve Procedures for Preparing for and Responding to Emergency Events

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Finding 2: The Floor Warden Program Has Recruitment, Training, and Retention Challenges

We found that the floor warden program should be administered more effectively. The floor warden program has challenges with respect to recruiting and retaining volunteers, and floor wardens are not completing annual training. According to the OEP, floor wardens are responsible for attending annual training; however, we found that two-thirds of active floor wardens had not completed training during the past year. Further, floor wardens are not actively recruited within the division hierarchy; employees interested in volunteering to become a floor warden are encouraged to contact their division continuity coordinator, division administrator, or the Safety Bureau. We noted that the Safety Bureau did not routinely reconcile the roster; therefore, it could not accurately determine compliance with training requirements and did not identify vacancies for the purposes of soliciting additional volunteers. As the floor warden program is currently functioning, the Board cannot be assured that there will be an adequate number of trained floor wardens during emergencies to assist in the safe, orderly movement of employees, including those who require assistance due to physical limitations.

All Floor Wardens Did Not Attend Annual Training

Our inspection of the Safety Bureau's training records from October 2012 showed that only 49 of 144 floor wardens (34 percent) completed the annual training. However, we could not determine how many floor wardens were considered active and should have attended the annual training class because the names on the floor warden roster did not reconcile with those on the Safety Bureau's training records.2 Further, we did not find evidence to indicate that those who did not complete the classroom training reviewed the OEP or the Emergency Preparedness website.3 The Safety Bureau's ability to maintain accurate records-and thereby track floor warden attendance at annual training-is compromised when volunteers and division administrators fail to notify the Safety Bureau that a floor warden has resigned from the program, transferred divisions, or separated from the Board.

Each floor warden is responsible for attending annual training. As outlined in the OEP, floor wardens perform several duties during drills and emergencies to assist the LEU. Floor wardens (1) supervise and control the flow of employees to ensure that evacuations are orderly, speedy, and safe; (2) assist employees with special needs to the nearest designated refuge; and (3) check all offices and unoccupied space to determine whether evacuations are complete. During annual training, floor wardens are reminded of their general duties and responsibilities, and they receive instruction in the following subjects:

  • hazard awareness
  • appropriate response procedures
  • the use of fire extinguishers
  • the use of automated external defibrillators
  • first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques

A low annual training participation rate raises concerns that all floor wardens may not be fully capable of assisting the LEU during emergencies. Several floor wardens we spoke with said that they did not attend training because the timing of the training was not convenient. The Safety Bureau stated to us that several efforts are underway to encourage floor warden training. For example, in addition to classroom training, online training is available and can be completed at the floor warden's convenience. Classroom sessions are announced on the Board's internal webpage (Inside the Board), and e-mail reminders are sent to floor wardens regarding any upcoming training. The Safety Bureau also stated that as a follow-up measure, floor wardens who miss training are contacted to determine whether they are interested in remaining in the floor warden program. According to Safety Bureau personnel, it is important to have as many floor wardens as possible, even if they do not attend training.

The Board should place greater emphasis on training to ensure that floor wardens are able to assist in the safe, orderly evacuation of employees. Several of the external sites we visited provide training more frequently and incorporate managers into the training process. For example, one Reserve Bank offers classroom training sessions quarterly to give the floor wardens scheduling options. Another Reserve Bank's emergency preparedness staff monitors rates of floor warden participation in classroom training on a quarterly basis and circulates reports on this participation to division management as well as to senior officers. In the event that a division has a low training participation rate, the emergency preparedness staff advises the division to appoint a replacement floor warden. Adopting a similar approach at the Board may result in a larger percentage of the floor warden roster attending annual training.

Floor Warden Retention Is a Challenge

The Safety Bureau's reliance on volunteers and referrals may not ensure a sufficient number of floor wardens to provide effective assistance to the LEU during drills and emergencies. The Safety Bureau solicits volunteers through the Board's Emergency Preparedness website and relies on other floor wardens to recruit volunteers. Although we did not find evidence to indicate that the Board lacks a full complement of floor wardens, the Safety Bureau reported that floor warden retention has been, and continues to be, a challenge.

Each division within the Board should actively recruit floor wardens for its work space. During our external site visits, we learned that division management assists emergency preparedness staff with recruiting and retaining floor wardens. Division managers at one location assess their own need for floor warden coverage and assign primary and back-up wardens. Managers at other locations incorporate floor warden activities into the individual's training plan, and they have a floor warden application process through which managers approve an application and provide schedule flexibility so that floor wardens can attend training. A proactive approach to recruiting floor wardens will help ensure that there will be a sufficient number of trained floor wardens available during actual emergencies.


We recommend that the Director of the Management Division

  1. Regularly provide records of completed floor warden training to all Board division directors and emphasize to them the need to have trained floor wardens to assist in evacuations.
  2.  Develop a Board policy for approval by the Executive Committee of the Board that requires Board division directors to
    1. recruit floor wardens from their own divisions to fill floor warden vacancies.
    2. enforce floor warden training compliance.
  3.  Ensure that the LEU reconciles the floor warden roster with Board personnel records and Safety Bureau training records on a biannual basis.

Management's Response

The Director of the Management Division concurred with recommendation 4. The Director stated that the Safety Bureau will develop a training compliance report specific to the floor warden program and disseminate that report twice annually.

The Director of the Management Division concurred with recommendation 5. He indicated that the policy codifying the floor warden program to include participation from each division and an emphasis on training will contribute to a robust emergency preparedness program. The Director added that a policy will be developed that will be applicable to all divisions and will ask division directors to appoint adequate floor wardens and enforce training.

The Director of the Management Division concurred with recommendation 6. The Director stated that floor warden roster updates will be coordinated twice annually to coincide with the dissemination of the training compliance report referenced in the response to recommendation 4.

OIG Comment

In our opinion, the actions described by the Director of the Management Division are responsive to our recommendations. We plan to follow up on the Management Division's actions to ensure that the recommendations are fully addressed.

  • 2. To determine the number of active floor wardens during 2012, we reconciled the floor warden roster of 158 to Board personnel records. Seven of the 158 wardens had separated from the Board; another 3 were no longer listed in their respective divisions. Moreover, the Safety Bureau's record of training showed that there were only 144 floor wardens.  Return to text
  • 3. We conducted our own survey of floor wardens. Seventy-three of the 153 who received our survey responded. Sixteen of the 73 (22 percent) stated that they had never read the OEP.  Return to text