What Is A Fire Watch And How To Conduct One?
Your commercial or residential property can be protected from fires by the appropriate fire safety equipment and protocols. But what happens if a fire breaks out during a maintenance outage? Your Fire system certification will come in handy in this scenario.
As a precaution, a Fire watch protocol can be implemented if the fire safety system is temporarily offline. The purpose of a Fire vigilance is to keep a close eye on buildings when risky activities are taking place, or fire protection is being provided.
Performing a watch is common when a fire alarm, sprinkler, or standpipe is not functioning due to damage or scheduled maintenance. There is no doubt that Fire watches can be overwhelming to property owners and can also be very costly, given the need for outside contractors.
However, it is possible to successfully looking out for signs of fire while reworking or repairing a fire protection system when organized correctly.
As the subject of this blog, we aim to shed light on Fire watches and how they can be conducted. Let’s get started.
What Is a Fire Watch?
A Fire watch continuously monitors a building, both physically and electronically, for a specified period of time.
The Fire watch entails a group of dedicated employees monitoring the affected area of the building periodically for signs of fire. An alert should be sent to the fire department or other emergency responders when looking out for signs of fire. The watch crew must also maintain records indicating when the notification was issued, and its duties were completed.
As a precaution, you should place your building under Fire watch during regular business hours if your fire marshal deems it necessary.
Fire Watch Procedure: How Do You Conduct One?
One or more trained personnel with a fire system certification must continuously patrol each area of the premises as part of a Fire watch. Watchers are responsible for alerting occupants first and contacting emergency services immediately upon discovering smoke or fire in the building. They can also assist occupants in evacuating the building if necessary.
As a Fire watcher, you are responsible for:
- Vigilantly searching for any potential or present hazard
- Responding immediately to any discovered fire
- Controlling the ignition safely and promptly
- Ensuring there are adequate exits and eliminating any barriers on the way
- Double-checking whether or not other alarms work correctly
- Contacting the nearby fire station, if necessary
- Using portable fire extinguishers or hoses to extinguish fires when necessary
- Reminding occupants to evacuate in case of hazardous conditions
- Patrolling every hour for the period the fire protection equipment is down.
A Fire watch patrol should document their findings every hour of coverage. The watcher is responsible for more than just inspecting the occupied areas of a building. They should also inspect unoccupied spaces, such as underground spaces, storage areas, and hidden areas, which too can be the birth ground of a fire disaster.
During Fire vigilance training, Fire watchers are trained to recognize the hazards that may be present on a fire site and the nature of the tasks being performed. Accordingly, they receive fire system certification. As part of their duties, they should also be able to prevent dangerous conditions from arising. Further, they should also be able to properly complete fire watch logs because fire codes generally need meticulous details of all fire related activities.
A clear understanding of manually operated fire alarm stations is essential, along with the methods of responding to a fire and sounding an alarm. Training on the use of emergency safety equipment must be formalized, and the equipment must be easily accessible to them. A Fire watcher must only put out a fire with the equipment available to them if possible.
If these guidelines are not followed, the local authority can inflict fines or order the building to be evacuated until the situation is resolved.
Generally, Fire watches are required until the conditions that require it are resolved. A Fire watch employee must remain on duty until all fire sprinkler inspections and tests are completed, and the fire sprinkler system has been restored to full working order.
Building owners may find it difficult to conduct a fire lookout when ordered to do so. By preparing beforehand, conducting a Fire watch can be made simple and painless, ensuring that life safety standards are consistently high throughout the property.