Automatic fire detection systems are a legal pre-requisite in any commercial building, and while a programme of regular testing and maintenance of them is also an essential element of a professional fire safety system, unforeseen problems do occur and the management of the building needs to reflect that.
In situations where a fire safety system is not present, or operational, or where a specific fire hazard exists that may result in the fire alarm system being insufficient, additional support systems are required to provide 24/7 support and control. One example of this is a waking watch system.
What is a waking watch system?
This is where suitably trained on-site personnel/fire marshals undertake regular fire safety patrols of a commercial building, both internally and around the perimeter of the building, as a substitute for the current failings of an automatic fire detection system. So the personnel would be looking for fire hazards or signs of fire, raising an alarm to inform people of this and managing an evacuation of the building if this is necessary.
By carrying out continuous patrols, a waking watch service can replicate a fire detection system and therefore act as an adequate temporary substitute to maintain continual control over fire safety, and therefore providing peace of mind in managing the safety of people, buildings and the business.
Who can carry out a waking watch service?
In order to adequately carry out a waking watch service you need personnel who are:
- Familiar with the site, the operations and the hazards which exist
- Able to carry out a fire risk assessment
- Alert, vigilant and able to spot fire hazards and how to manage them
- Familiar with the site’s emergency procedures, the location of exits and fire-fighting equipment
- Able to carry-out continuous patrols and keep suitable records
- Ideally has received some formal training in fire safety management
Where would a waking watch service be needed?
A waking watch service would be needed in any commercial building where a fire alarm system is installed but there are:
- Problems with the electrical supply and the system is not working
- Technical problems within the system
- The site is under construction and the water supply is currently turned off
The building may also be a temporary construction, or under construction, and no fire detection system is in place, or there has been a fire hazard identified – such as dangerous cladding in a high-rise apartment building or any building with multiple floors – which merits additional fire safety support because it is felt the fire detection system might not be adequate.
Why is a waking watch system needed?
The person responsible for a commercial building has a duty to provide continual health and safety management, and so in these circumstances a waking watch system enables constant monitoring and control of fire safety, and the means to raise an alarm if an automatic system is not available at any time.
Good fire safety management will also incorporate an ability to adapt to change and temporary circumstances, and so a flexible waking watch system, which can be tailored to your building and operations, is an ideal solution. It is a reliable, reassuring and responsive presence and an effective human intervention and alternative in the event that an alarm system failing has occurred. It should also be noted that a waking watch service is only a fall-back option, and is not a substitute for ensuring an adequate fire detection system exists.
If you need any further information or advice on waking watch services, you can contact Apardion to talk to our fire safety experts. Our trained and experienced fire safety personnel can be deployed on your site to carry out waking watch services on a temporary or long-term basis, to ensure you have continual fire safety of your buildings, so contact Apardion today.