Fast Guard

If you are wondering whether or not your business might need Fire Watch or Fire Protection Services, the first order of business is to properly define exactly what those services entail…

What Exactly is a Fire Watch?

In short, a Fire Watch is a provisional arrangement in which a person or person physically checks buildings and/or other property for extreme fire hazard situations. Fire Watches are normally conducted when the probabilities of a fire-related incident are high. For example, anytime that ‘hot work’ construction processes are taking place on-site (common ‘hot work’ processes are welding, soldering, flame-cutting, riveting and brazing). Another typical ‘high-probability’ example would be in the case of malfunctioning alarm and/or sprinkler systems.

What do Fire Watch Teams Do?

The duties of Fire Watch personnel may vary between jobs and location sites, but there are basic tasks that come with each position. In the course of their duties, Fire Watch personnel, (who are familiarized with the layout), will check all exits and fire extinguishers.  They will have on their person, the materials necessary to execute a fast evacuation and to notify any other occupants in the event of a fire. In most cases, Fire Watch personnel would also carry a portable horn, a flashlight, a full all-access set of keys to the premises, writing materials and a copy of their specific duties.

When are Fire Watches Conducted?

Whether in 15-minute increments or on the hour, Fire Watch rounds are conducted on a regular basis and a log is kept recording each round. Accepted entries include the address of the facility, start and end times for the round, names of the Fire Watch personnel and entries for any communication that occurred between Fire Watch personnel and either the fire department or the Department of Public Safety. Fire Watch personnel should also wear (at all times) a clearly visible form of identification (such as a vest or hat). In many cases, Fire Watch personnel may work in concert with municipal or volunteer fire departments.

What Fire Watch Teams Don’t Do

The marching orders for a given Fire Watch team may vary from site to site (and from state to state) but most Fire Watch personnel are given clear instruction not to extinguish a fire unless it is clearly safe for them to do so, (or unless they have been expressly instructed or given permission to do so). In general, Fire Watch personnel should not attempt any tasks that could not be completed safely by the average citizen.

So Does My Business Need Fire Watch Service or Not?

Now that you understand what Fire Watch Services are, and whether they apply to commercial real estate owners, managers, or any other potential customer type – and whether or not these services could benefit them – chances are it likely are! If you still ask whether these services would benefit them, then most likely yes, they probably do! As previously discussed, Fire Watch Services are usually required when buildings either lack a working fire alarm system or their sprinkler system is malfunctioning, which includes hot work. Other reasons could include malfunctioning burglar alarms or access control systems or power outages related to natural disasters. If in doubt whether or not Fire Watch Services are needed in your location, get in contact with your local fire marshal immediately for advice and direction.  Give them a brief description of your scenario and ask if you should schedule a Fire Watch Guards.