The continued use and occupancy of any building is dependent on installed fire protection systems being fully operational. What happens when these systems malfunction? In most cases the only option is to contract with a company that provides fire watch services. There are several reason why you should hire a security compnay to provide fire watch patrol services rther than attempting to do it yourself. Chief among the reasons is liability. You can find additional reason here. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of security companies in Maryland, Virginia or Washington DC that offer fire watch services. In other cases those that do provide fire watch patrols do not have a team that is regularly available to fulfill last minute needs. Jurisdictional regulations, length of time services will be needed and the number of guards needed must all be considered when scheduling a fire watch patrol.
Jurisdictional fire watch regulations
How a fire watch is to be conduct depends of the guidelines of the jurisdiction where the services will be provided. At a minimum all jurisdictions require fire watch patrol guards to walk the areas affected by the part of the fire system that is no functioning properly. These patrols must occur a minimum of once per hour. Patrol officers must record the times, locations and observations on a patrol log sheet. Many jurisdictions add modifications to the generally accepted fire watch patrol practices. Fore example, fire watch service in Washington DC is vastly different from Fire watch service in Maryland or Virginia. For example, Washington DC fire watch guidelines http://fems.dc.gov/publication/fire-watch-guidelines-and-directives include the requirement that a detailed fire watch plan be submitted and approved by the Fire Marshal prior to the start of fire watch service. It is important to hire a security company that is aware of the regulations.
Number of fire watch patrol guards needed
How many fire watch patrol guards do I need is the number one question most people ask when considering scheduling fire watch services. The best answer is….it depends on your circumstance. I know that sounds like a non-answer. However, it is the truth. A good rule of thumb is to provide enough guard to allow for a guard to patrol their designated area in 30 minutes or less. Some jurisdictions regulate the number of guards. Washington DC requires a minimum of one guard for each floor. The problem is that in those cases the size of the building is only taken in consideration when dealing with larger building. Size is ignored when it comes to small buildings. For example: Trust Security Services recently provided fire watch service in Washington DC for a building that had 5 floors. Each floor had an elevator lobby that opened up to the entrances of 4 apartments. There were only 4 apartments on each floor. Each floor could be patrolled in 3 minutes. However, due to DC regulations 5 guards were required 24 hours per day. This is a good example that proves there is no one size fits all concept when it comes to firewatch services. The best option is to select a security company that can advise you on the best number of patrol guards required for your specific situation.
How long will you need fire watch services?
How long fire watch services will be needed depends of the nature of the problem that you are having with your fire system, skills of the technician that is working on your system and the regulations within your jurisdiction. Most fire watches typically last 2-3 days. However, in some cases fire watches can extend several weeks or months. Older buildings often have older systems that require parts that are difficult to acquire. In some cases these parts must be custom made. The skill and availability of the technician also affects length of service. Higher skilled fire alarm technicians can get more done in less time than other lesser skilled technicians. You also need a technician that can respond quickly when service is needed. Hiring a fire alarm service company with skilled technicians and a dependable team that can be dispatched quickly can cut the time in half in some cases. Some jurisdictions require the fire marshal to inspect the fire system prior to fire watch services ending. This is the case for fire watch in Washington DC. When service ends is dependent on when the fire marshal can visit your site. Security companies do not have an unlimited supply of guards. It is best to schedule service based on a worst case scenario to ensure that service can continue in case of the need to extend the coverage and select a fire watch company that has a large team firewatch guards that are ready willing and able to serve.
There are many variable involved with getting fire watch services. The three most important things to consider are the applicable regulations, number of guards needed and how long you will be needing service. The best option is to hire a security agency who offers fire watch services.
Trust Security Services offers Firewatch service in the following juristictions:
Here are some additional artilcles about fire watch that you may find helpful: