Water-based fire protection systems need to be down for 10 hours or longer in a 24-hour timeframe. Given this, it is important that those conducting a fire watch be very familiar with the building and the equipment they are watching. The requirement applies when the sum of all outages in a 24-hour period exceeds more than four hours. This may or may not be the case for your business. However, the instructions provided by the NFPA are not law unless a government agency chooses to make them so. The main point here is that it is important to evaluate all of your options when developing your fire watch policy so that it can be implemented quickly in the event of an impairment to your fire sprinkler or alarm systems. Writing professionally since 2008, Michelle Miley specializes in home and garden topics but frequently pens career, style and marketing pieces. NFPA 101-2012, section 3.3.104, states 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. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. This post will help you learn more about fire watches — what they are, what they entail, and the circumstances in which they must be implemented — as well as a discussion of the options available to building owners in conducting them. It does not constitute professional advice. When hiring a security company, you can expect that your fire watchers will arrive with all the necessary training and equipment. What are the Fire Code Regulations for Haunted Houses? But, when they do quick decisions are needed. For sprinklers and other water-based fire protection systems, the NFPA 72 defines an impairment as an “abnormal condition” that renders your system or some component or function of it inoperable. It is important to note however, that requirements can vary by jurisdiction and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs). Watchers are required to keep a log sheet of the rounds they make while on fire watch. For water-based fire protection systems, fire watches are required for impairments lasting 10 hours or more in a 24-hour period. Fire watches require the continuous patrol of all areas of the building affected by the impairment to look for evidence of smoke, fire, or any abnormal conditions. If either of these systems go down for more than four hours in a 24-hour period, NFPA 101 Section 9 requires the either the building to be evacuated or a fire watch to be established. Members of a fire watch must regularly and thoroughly check all parts of a building that are affected by the fire alarm and sprinkler failures. In addition, all activities associated with a fire watch must be documented. While the requirement to respond to impairments in your fire protection system comes from the LSC, the specific requirements for doing so reside in Chapter 15 of the NFPA 25 Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, which specifies the requirements for how to respond to sprinkler system impairments. However, a fire watch policy is a critical component of your building’s comprehensive fire protection plan. However, this is not the case. As noted in its definition, if a life-threatening situation is discovered, the person conducting the fire watch must immediately contact emergency personnel, alert the occupants to the emergency and assist in their evacuation. Sprinkler and alarm malfunctions don’t happen every day. Basic Requirements for Fire Watches According to the NFPA, for fire alarm systems, a fire watch is required if the system is impaired for more than four hours in a 24-hour period. The fire watch must be maintained until the fire alarm and sprinkler systems are again properly functioning. Some buildings are required by law to have fire alarm and automatic sprinkler systems. In Chapter 3 of the LSC, a fire watch is defined as the assignment of one or more people with the following tasks: Emergency impairments can include an interruption in the water supply to the system, frozen or ruptured pipes, equipment failure, and any impairments that are identified during inspections of the system. Fire Safety, The Code also covers preplanned impairments that occur when the system must be shut down for a period of time to allow for open flame operations such as welding in an area with automatic fire detection systems or disconnecting the system for the purposes of testing and maintenance. In these cases, the most stringent requirements would apply. Ideally, your fire watch policy will provide a plan for acting quickly to ensure your compliance with the regulation. They must also know the location of all manual fire alarm stations and fire protection equipment available to them should they discover a fire.

nfpa fire watch requirements

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