What is a Fire Watch?
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.
Fire Watch Requirements
A fire watch may be required for any of the following reasons:
- Fire alarm system fully or partially out of service;
- Sprinkler system fully or partially out of service;
- Fire pump out of service;
- Special hazards; or
- Other conditions as required by the Fire Marshal.
If any of these conditions occur and cannot be corrected within four hours, the building owner or their representative is required by the City of Salisbury Fire Prevention Code to either vacate the building or provide a fire watch until the system is repaired or the hazard mitigated.
When ordered, the owner/occupant shall establish, instruct and maintain fire watch personnel. Owners/occupants shall ensure that fire watch personnel are knowledgeable about the property being protected, including the following:
- Floor layout of all buildings, floors, occupancies, and hazards;
- Emergency shutdown procedures and equipment;
- Fixed fire protection systems;
- Manual and automatic detection and alarm systems;
- Portable fire protection equipment; and
- Facility emergency action plan and procedures.
Fire Watch Duties
Persons serving as a fire watch cannot have any other duties except the fire watch. Fire watch duties will consist of the following:
- Conduct periodic patrols of the affected areas;
- Identify any fire, signs of fire, life or property hazards;
- Maintain a knowledge of building floor layout, hazardous areas, emergency shut down procedures, emergency evacuation plan, etc.;
- Maintain all exits and exit access corridors to ensure means of egress are clear and unobstructed;
- Ensure sprinkler system valves are in open position, if applicable;
- Ensure you have the proper equipment to effectively maintain a fire watch (keys, fobs, flashlight, etc.);
- Maintain at least one means of direct communication with the Fire Department ( a cell phone is acceptable);
- Notify the Fire Department immediately if a fire is discovered by calling 9-1-1, give exact address and location of the fire;
- Notify occupants of the need to evacuate, if the fire alarm horns or public address system are still functional use them to notify occupants. If appliances are not functional then other means of notification must be available.
- Have knowledge of the location and use of fire protection equipment, such as fire extinguishers and occupant hose lines (The fire watch will not perform firefighting duties beyond the scope of ordinary citizens); and
- Maintain a logbook of fire watch activity.
Frequency of Patrols
Fire watch personnel should patrol the entire facility every 15 minutes in the following situations:
- The facility has people sleeping;
- The facility is an institutional occupancy; or
- The facility is an occupied assembly or educational occupancy.
Occupied facilities that do not meet the requirements for a 15-minute patrol frequency should conduct a fire watch patrol every 30 minutes.
A fire watch log book must be maintained at the building. The log book must be available to the Fire Department at all times during the fire watch. The log book should contain the following information:
- Address of the building;
- Date and time of each patrol through the affected area;
- Name of person(s) conducting fire watch;
- Records of communications with the Fire Department; and
- Any other information as required by the Fire Department.
Terminating the Fire Watch
Once the conditions that led to the fire watch order have been mitigated the fire watch may be terminated; the owner/occupant shall notify the Fire Marshal’s office by calling 410-548-3120, request extension 111 and leave a message.