Fires can start for any reason. Fire is useful for many things and is used in many industries. However, an unintended conflagration can cause untold harm and damage. Even though a business may not directly deal with fire, some unexpected things can cause fires. Things like short circuits, cooking fires, or a stray cigarette butt can result in whole buildings burnt in minutes. This results in huge monetary losses year after year. In the US in 2017 alone, fires caused $23 billion in damages, along with 3400 deaths. To prevent such unfortunate occurrences, the fire code mandates the installation of fire alarm systems. These systems can catch fires early, alerting fire services or acting sprinkler systems. Sometimes though, either an alarm system stops working, or it is infeasible to install(for e.g., in a building under construction). In these cases, the fire marshal recommends the use of fire watch security to ensure the safety of a property and its visitors. In such cases, the fire department may not even permit a business to operate without a fire watch guard present.
What is Fire watch security, and what do they do?
Fire watch Security services are actions taken for fire prevention and safety. Performed by trained security personnel, usually ex-firemen, these services include:
· Patrols-This includes guards patrolling the required area to ensure adherence to all aspects of the fire safety protocol. Patrolling is done in shifts throughout the day. It is one of the most important aspects of fire watch security, as it sets the stage for every other.
· Identification of potential pain points: — Due to their firefighting experience, fire watch guards can spot situations that may be fire risks. This makes possible the early detection of such situations, like flammable garbage or sparking wires. With timely intervention, this can prevent fires and save human and financial capital.
· Documentation and Archival-This involves keeping meticulous records of the timing and paths of patrols, as well as any hazards identified. Often, these are required by federal agencies and local authorities. Additionally, insurance companies might request these logs in the result of a fire and cite the lack of them as a reason to deny claims.
· Inspect the functionality of fire suppression equipment-In the course of their regular patrols, fireguards can inspect the working condition and functioning equipment used for fire suppression. This can include alarms, smoke detectors, sprinklers, and fire extinguishers. Each year, there are multiple incidents where expired fire extinguishers fail to extinguish an otherwise small fire.
· Informing the relevant authorities- The most important metric that dictates the survivability of people and buildings in the case of actual fire is the amount of time it takes the fire department to get there. Fire watch guards are trained in interaction with emergency services. This makes it easier for them to locate and intercept a fire successfully.
Fire watch security, in essence, is the complete fire safety management of an organization or business. Fire watch guards take care of every aspect of Fire safety. This involves the minimization of fire risk, prevention of fire, and control of small fires. They also take care of interacting with the relevant authorities, and all the required documentation and licensing. They can also advise further improvements to protocols and procedures in cases of fire. In summation, fire watch security is an invaluable part of the fire safety protocols for any organization that needs them.