This information is provided to clarify the requirements for a fire watch. A fire watch is the action of an on-site person whose sole duty is to watch for the occurrence of fire.
If a required fire protection system fails and/or if there are an excessive number of accidental activations/nuisance alarms, a fire watch may be required by the fire code until the system is repaired. A nuisance alarm is defined as "any alarm caused by mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation, or lack of proper maintenance, or any alarm activated by a cause that cannot be determined." (NFPA 72 1-4) A fire watch may also be required when fire protection systems are in a trouble or a supervisory mode for more than four hours.
Insure that qualified personnel are providing the fire watch.
Notify the monitoring company that the facility is under a fire watch.
Notify the fire department that the system is not working and then again when the system is operational. Call the Bureau of Safety Services at 561-616-7034 or 561-616-7030.
Contract with a certified fire alarm system company to fix the fire protection system(s) that are not operational.
If a Notice of Violation has been written, contact the local fire department when the system has been repaired. Their phone number will be on the Notice of Violation.
If you have any questions or you need more information, please contact the Bureau of Safety Services at 561-616-7034 or 561-616-7030.
Duties of Personnel on Fire Watch
Personnel providing a fire watch shall perform the following duties:
Conduct periodic patrols of the entire facility.
Identify any fire, life safety or property hazards and report them by contacting 9-1-1 and reporting the type of emergency and exact location.
If the building is occupied, notify all occupants to evacuate. If the sirens or public address systems are operational, use them to assist with the evacuation of the building.
Determine at least one means of direct communication with the fire department. A landline telephone is an acceptable communication method.
Maintain a log of fire watch activities.
Have a good working knowledge of the fire protection equipment available and be trained in how to use them, including the fire extinguishers.
Personnel performing a fire watch cannot have any other duties than the fire watch.
NOTE: The personnel performing the fire watch will not perform any firefighting duties beyond the scope of the ordinary citizen.
Frequency of Fire Watch Patrol
Fire Watch personnel shall patrol the entire facility every 15 minutes in the following situations:
- The facility has people sleeping in it.
- The facility is an institutional occupancy.
- The facility is an occupied assembly occupancy.
All other facilities that do not meet these criteria shall have fire watch personnel patrol the facility every 30 minutes.
A fire watch log should be maintained at the facility. The log must be available to the fire department at all times during the fire watch. The log should show the following:
- Address of the facility
- Times that the patrols were completed in the facility
- Name of the person conducting the fire watch.
- Record of communication(s) to the fire department and monitoring company.
- Record of other information as directed by fire department personnel.
- Record of the fire watch log to be faxed to the AHJ 561-616-7082; Contact AHJ if Emailing log. 561-616-7034 or 561-616-7030.
Cancellation of Fire Watch
It is the owner's responsibility to cancel the fire watch once the fire protection system has been fully restored. Once the fire watch has been cancelled, the owner or representative must notify the fire alarm monitoring company, the local fire department and the local fire marshal office.
If you have any additional questions or require additional information, please contact our office.
Florida Fire Prevention Code
- NFPA 101 - 2012 Edition - 3.3.104 - Fire Watch Definition
- NFPA 101 - 2012 Edition – 188.8.131.52* Fire Alarm out of Service
- NFPA 1 - 2012 Edition – A.184.108.40.206.4 - Duties of Fire Watch Personnel
- NFPA 25 – 2011 Edition – 15.6 Emergency Impairments
- NFPA 25 – 2011 Edition - 15.5 Preplanned Impairments