Fire Watch Essentials for Wildfire Awareness Month

Fire Watch Essentials for Wildfire Awareness Month

May is Wildfire Awareness Month – an initiative embraced by many governments, nonprofits, and industry organizations to improve public awareness of wildfires, and fire safety more generally. Climate change has increased the frequency and severity of wildfires in the United States, costing both the federal government and individual citizens billions of dollars in assets lost to fire damage. While structures can be rebuilt, the long-term effects of wildfires can cause permanent damage that’s felt across entire communities.

 

That’s why it’s more important than ever to review the basics of fire safety. Homeowners, facility supervisors, construction teams, and everyone in between should do their part to ensure proper fire safety mechanisms are in place wherever you live and work. Partnering with a reliable fire watch guard service that can quickly deploy to your location is one component of a robust fire risk management strategy. Through proper use of the recommended tools, you can help limit the spread of wildfires, protect critical assets, and save lives.

Keeping Your Building Safe

Homeowners and building managers need to be aware of fire safety best practices to protect facilities and personnel, and to prevent wildfires. Large facilities – such as commercial buildings, industrial settings, and residential complexes – must have easy access to fire watch guards as part of their overall fire safety program.

 

Every building needs to be equipped with fire detection and suppression systems in accordance with applicable regulations. Fire codes in the United States are typically drafted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and adopted by municipal governments with some local variations. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the fire codes in your region before taking any action that could affect your fire preparedness.

 

For homeowners, the basic requirements are usually quite simple: smoke detectors throughout the home, and easy access to fire extinguishers. Due to the increasing threat of wildfires, the NFPA has also issued recommendations to minimize the impact of embers emanating from wildfires. Embers are the most common cause of home ignitions during wildfires, traveling over a mile in some cases before settling on flammable material.

 

To prevent home ignition from embers, it is recommended that homeowners:

 

  • Do not allow dry material like leaves and twigs to collect on their property
  • Maintain a five-foot safety zone around each building
  • Patch any holes in roofs or siding
  • Keep gutters clear of debris

 

(Your region may have specific or additional requirements along these lines, so be sure to familiarize yourself with all applicable fire codes.)

Fire Watch Basics for Building Managers 

 

The same rules apply to larger residential complexes, as well as industrial and commercial buildings. More sophisticated fire detection and suppression systems are also required for larger facilities. When those systems are inoperative for any reason, fire risk increases exponentially and facility managers could face complex liabilities if those systems remain out of commission for more than four hours.

 

This is when fire watch guards will need to be deployed. Fire watch guards are trained security personnel who supplement fire detection systems by assessing threats and observing normal facility activity while fire safety systems are being repaired. Think of them as human fire detectors or smoke alarms – in the absence of an automated system, fire watch guards can notify relevant authorities the moment a fire risk is detected.

 

Since fire watch guards are required by law when automated safety systems are down, facility managers need to have access to a reliable fire watch guard company before problems arise. That way, they can deploy guards within the four-hour window without having to deal with facility shutdown, evacuation orders from fire marshalls, or liability issues.

 

“Hot Work” Requires Fire Watch Guards 

The NFPA reports that the United States experiences over 4,500 structure fires each year linked to “hot work”. Hot work is a broad category, covering activities like welding, brazing, cutting, torching – any intentional application of heat that could pose a fire risk. Most organizations diligently follow all safety recommendations and generally conduct hot work in dedicated facilities with proper fire prevention systems in place.

 

Unfortunately, quick jobs, off-site work, and busy construction sites are often the stage for unsafe hot work practices. Crews anxious to complete a job on a deadline may ignore basic fire safety requirements and proceed with hot work without proper systems in place. This presents an increased risk of fire damage, and may even precipitate wildfires that damage entire communities.

 

Fire watch guards are the recommended – and legally required – solution in these circumstances. Guards receive specialized training that allows them to monitor job sites and supervise hot work flexibly. Whether the hot work task is completed in minutes at a remote construction site or is being conducted 24/7 at a busy industrial facility, fire watch guards provide the necessary oversight to ensure hot work does not cause fire damage, injury, or liability issues for those involved.

 

fire extinguisher mounted on a wall

Contact The Guard Alliance to Review Your Fire Watch Options

During Wildfire Awareness Month, we are encouraging everyone in our network to review their fire safety systems and connect with a reliable fire watch guard company in their region. The Guard Alliance has included fire watch services as part of our core offerings since 2010, and we are proud to be one of the fastest-growing fire watch providers in the United States.

 

If you need 24-hour fire watch to cover gaps in your facilities’ fire safety systems, or emergency fire watch to deploy immediately for hot work supervision, we are ready to assist. Contact our team today, and access top-tier fire watch guards from The Guard Alliance whenever you need us.

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