Fire watch services are on-duty safety roles performed by specially qualified personnel. Services usually consist of: PATrollers- these are people who are positioned in strategic locations to monitor all aspects of a fire danger. They are the first responders and act as the eyes and ears of the operations room. PATrollers should be professionally trained and undergo background checks and drug test screenings. They are the ones who will identify dangerous situations and warn the public of possible hazards before the fire brigade can arrive. PATrollers are also responsible for sounding the fire alarm, sounding the warning sirens and reporting any unusual activity to the operations room.
Firewatch Basics PATrollers are placed strategically at strategic locations throughout the facility to monitor fire risk. They are trained to act in a manner that alerts and warns the public of possible dangers. The number of days they are scheduled to patrol the premises depends on the size of the facility. In larger facilities, two supervisors will rotate on a day to day duties, with one designated as the fire watch service supervisor. They will then coordinate and assign shifts to their PATrollers. Basic patrol shifts usually take up to an hour, with breaks or lunch breaks.
The patrol involves three specific roles: to directly control the flow of people through the facility and/or to direct them toward safety; to report any irregularities they see and call in to the operations room; and to check the condition of emergency medical services and critical need hospitals. In the event of a fire, the first responder is typically the sole representative of the firewatch services. These individuals are usually fire security officers hired by the business and/or property owner. In the event that the primary patrol officer is unavailable, then the second highest level officer who has been trained for such a role, known as a backup officer, assumes the role of primary patrol. The backup officer is trained to assume that role in the event that the primary patrol officer is unavailable.
In addition to the role of primary patrol, some businesses hire additional security services, including fire watch services, during periods of time when the primary security services are unavailable. Some employers provide their employees with a standing instruction that they are to assist in the response to emergencies. As part of the training process for providing this instruction, security officers are taught to identify possible hazards in addition to reporting them to the proper authorities. As is true for any profession, this standing instruction is also contingent upon a business having adequate policies and procedures in place to mitigate the potential for harm, whether from a natural disaster or a criminal incident.
When an employee is employed by a company and is added to the payroll as a fire watch services provider, there are typically additional steps that take place prior to and during employment. Typically, this includes training specific to the type of business the employee will be providing fire watch services for. Depending on the type of institution and/or personnel, it may also include additional instructions regarding the proper way to react should emergency situations or other issues arise. This training can be provided in classes at local community colleges or can be taught in an environment specifically designed for providing training for security officers and other employees who work in the business setting.
In addition to providing fire watch services, companies that employ professional security officers and other employees are required to provide their employees with an alarm system that can be activated in an emergency. For example, instead of calling the local fire department, one could instead call the fire alarm system company that one works for and allow the alarm to be activated in case of fire hazards in or around the building. In many cases, the fire alarm system company is the same company that provides security services for the business. In addition to the fire alarm system, the employee is also trained in responding to the emergency itself. In some instances, the person may even be trained to use the fire watch services.