Fire watch services are invaluable to property owner’s everywhere, but why are they so important to have?
Fire watch services are invaluable because they provide physical system security for a property, agency, etc. when a fire panel is down, or where there is “hot-work” on a site. Hot work is a coined term that refers to when there is welding, construction, or spark creating operational work on a property that needs to be supervised.
Professionals trained to monitor and patrol properties, including spotting vulnerable areas and monitoring any suspicious building activity, are prepared to step onto site to protect the building from any hazards, smoke, fires, etc. that may affect the building while the fire monitoring system is down.
Fire watch is ordered by the fire marshal when a fire alarm, fire sprinkler, fire panel, or fire system is inoperable due to damage, faulty power lines, maintenance, or other reasons. A faulty fire panel can create havoc for a building if it is not caught, and while fire protection systems work 99% of the time, fire protection services may be needed for the 1% of time it is not operable. Fire prevention services is a security service for the building, and can be utilized for construction sites, commercial properties, apartment buildings, etc. to stay in code with the state fire marshal.
The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) has standardized that all property owners are required to report inoperable or impaired fire systems to the local fire department/fire marshal if a fire panel is down for more than 4 hours in a 24-hour period.
The hours do not have to be consecutive, and this means if a fire panel becomes impaired for 30 minutes throughout the full day, it is the property owner’s responsibility to notify the proper fire protection authorities. If the owner knows that the outage will last a significant amount of time, it is up to them to enlist fire watch protective services to provide physical protection and monitoring of a building for 24 hours every day until it is functioning properly again.
Specifically, NFPA 101 3.3.91 states that “the assignment of a person or persons to an area for the express purpose of notifying the fire department, the building occupants, or both of an emergency; preventing a fire from occurring, extinguishing small fires: or protecting the public from fire or life safety dangers” all falls under the responsibility of the professional fire watch patrol person/persons who are monitoring the property during the time a fire panel is down.
NFPA 101-188.8.131.52. and NFPA 101-184.108.40.206. are similar rulings that state if a “required fire alarm system or required automatic sprinkler system is out of service for more than 4 hours in a 24-hour period, the authority having jurisdiction shall be notified, and the building shall be evacuated or an approved fire watch shall be provided for all parties left unprotected.” In summary, this states that the property owners, managers, directors, etc. must hire fire watch to stay in code with their local fire marshal.
Fire watch may seem unimportant, but it is vital for property owners who are experiencing issues and want to stay in operation while their fire system is repaired. Fire watch patrol personnel provide invaluable support to companies that can not afford too close during repairs, and another layer of protection that can monitor and patrol the perimeter of the premises.
The Guard Alliance Inc.’s professional fire watch team provides fire protection, prevents fire hazards, and follows the protocols set in place by the fire marshal to keep thousands of property owners and businesses safe annually.