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WHAT IS 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. NFPA 1-A-220.127.116.11.5.2(4)(b) A fire watch should consist of trained personnel who continuously patrol the affected area. Ready access to fire extinguishers and the ability to promptly notify the fire department are important items to consider. During the patrol of the area, the person should not only be looking for fire, but making sure that the other fire protection features of the building such as egress routes and alarm systems are available and functioning properly. [25:A.15.5.2(4)(b)] NFPA 101-A.18.104.22.168 A fire watch should at least involve some special action beyond normal staffing, such as assigning an additional security guard(s) to walk the areas affected. These individuals should be specially trained in fire prevention and in occupant and fire department notification techniques, and they should understand the particular fire safety situation for public education purposes. NFPA 101-22.214.171.124* Where a required fire alarm system is out of service for more than 4 hours in a 24-hour period, the authority having jurisdiction shall be notified, and the building shall be evacuated or an approved fire watch shall be provided for all parties left unprotected by the shutdown until the fire alarm system has been returned to service. NFPA 101-126.96.36.199 Where a required automatic sprinkler system is out of service for more than 4 hours in a 24-hour period, the authority having jurisdiction shall be notified, and the building shall be evacuated or an approved fire watch shall be provided for all parties left unprotected by the shutdown until the sprinkler system has been returned to service. The Fire Watch Shall: • Continually patrol the area, structure or facility and document the patrol a minimum of once every hour. • Be trained in the use of a fire extinguisher and have one accessible at all times. • Be capable of communicating with building occupants and the fire department to notify them about fires or other emergencies. • Maintain a record of the Fire Watch for inspection by the Authority Having Jurisdiction. These procedures are to be followed during ALL HOURS OF OCCUPANCY until such time as the systems are back online and certified and approval has been received by the Normal Fire Department. Once the affected systems are returned to a functional status, you may call the Local Fire Marshal for your area. FAILURE TO FOLLOW FIRE WATCH GUIDELINES MAY RESULT IN FINES AND/OR THE AFFECTED AREAS BEING CLOSED for service until all repairs have been made and inspected by your local Fire Marshal. TO SCHEDULE FIRE WATCH SERVICES CONTACT 866.989.5253 immediately www.protectionagency.us
These tips are by no means exhaustive, but they are essential components of a proper fire-prevention scheme.
- Water is Not Always the Solution
There are four classes of fires and each requires unique measures to contain. Class A fires for instance can be put out with pressurized water, foam or multi-purpose dry chemical extinguishers. A Class B blaze, on the other hand, can be contained with carbon dioxide, ordinary dry chemical and multi-purpose dry chemical extinguishers. Make sure that you know how to choose and use the proper fire extinguisher.
- PASS Your Way to Safety
To operate an extinguisher using the PASS method: Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the flames, Squeeze the trigger and Sweep from side to side.
- Practice Fire Prevention
As in medicine, the best cure is prevention. Why wait for a fire to start? Set up fire safety measures such as prohibiting smoking in fire-prone areas, avoiding an overload of electrical cords, checking for damaged electrical equipment, etc. In general, fire prevention involves depriving a fire of any one of its three sources: fuel, oxygen and heat. Eliminate one and you can nip any fire in the bud.
- Know the Emergency Action Plan
As much as you have a role to play in fire prevention, it's not really your job. When there's a big fire, don't play the hero. Call in the firefighters at once. Just be familiar enough with your Emergency Action Plan and the Incident Command System so you won't panic and will know what to do. Make sure you know the R.A.C.E method: Rescue - Alarm - Confine - Extinguish/Evacuate.
- Stay Low, Stay Alive
Seventy-five percent of fire-related deaths are caused by carbon monoxide poisoning due to smoke inhalation. Many die not because they burn but because they suffocate. Once a fire is raging and you're caught in it, stay as low as you possibly can – crawl along the floor. The toxic gases in smoke start high and slowly descend, and so to be down close to the floor is to increase your chances of survival and escape.