What Is Fire Watch in Construction?

February 2, 2024

Fire watch is a service that prevents fires from occurring in your building or construction site. The fire watch personnel will patrol constantly, looking for fire hazards and monitoring areas where hot work (like welding and cutting with torches) is taking place. In addition to constant patrolling, fire watch workers must also be familiar with the building and know where emergency switches, electrical shut-off devices, and water shut-offs are located. They should also have a means of sounding an alarm if they notice fire and be able to notify the fire department quickly.

If there is a fire, the fire watch will communicate with building occupants to ensure they are evacuated in an effective and safe manner. The fire watch will also make sure that methods of exit from the building are clear, accessible, and unobstructed. They will also maintain hydrants, fire monitors, and fixed fire extinguishers in working order. They must also keep an accurate log of the number of patrols they conduct during a shift until a fire official tells them to stop.

Fire watch services are often needed when normal fire safety systems in buildings do not function. The NFPA specifies that any time a fire alarm system, sprinkler system, or sensors go offline for more than 4 cumulative hours in a 24-hour period, a fire watch must be instituted. Whether the fire safety system goes down due to an emergency, a maintenance issue, or a power outage, live fire watch is required.

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