Fire watch services are on-duty, emergency security functions carried out by specially trained personnel. Services usually include: PAT screening/inspections. Provide PAT screening of all facility areas and buildings, particularly in high crime incidence areas. These personnel perform regular screenings at specified shifts and during peak periods, to detect suspicious activity and fire risks.
PAT screening/inspections are usually carried out after all voluntary evacuations and all suspicious incidents. In this process, the alarm is activated and personnel are notified immediately. If a building is not vacant when a security services patrol is called, the patrol is en route and can enter the building at any time it is necessary. Fire watch guards can also be dispatched to respond to an incident only when the building’s occupants have left the premises, or within the immediate vicinity.
During a security services patrol, the fire watch guards are tasked to assess and report on the location of fire hazards, smoke, heat and other potential dangers present in a structure. This assessment is then presented to the command staff for prompt and accurate action. The assessment is for each room and building individually; however, common hazards such as electrical fires are always prioritized for patrol. After the patrol has verified each area’s hazards, the next step is to identify the cause of the problem. For buildings with multiple security hazards, the entire building may need to be assessed.
When fire watches are assigned to specific buildings or sectors, they perform extra duties apart from regular patrol duties. For example, some units would also be called upon to “mop-up” hotspots where there are complaints of food or substance shortages. This service is intended to alleviate pressure on personnel in emergency situations and minimize loss of life. Other specialized fire watches might also be required to escort injured victims to designated triage medical facilities or to attend to emergency calls. Upon arrival, these patrols are also charged with communicating details about the nature of their assignment to the command staff and other personnel.
Throughout a fire watch guard’s shift, he/she is responsible for checking on the status of fire hazards and acting in case of any emergency situation. Fire watches are generally small groups and consist of one or two security guards. They respond to the fire alarms and other emergency signs in buildings or zones assigned to them. In addition to acting in case of an emergency, fire watch guards also provide support during normal business hours by making sure that all emergency equipment is in working order.
Fire watch guards are typically employed by the local fire department, but they are also sometimes required to patrol certain zones in large cities. If you are interested in becoming a patrol officer, it is important to ensure that you have undergone basic training and have had the proper background and experience to perform effectively. Many patrol units nowadays have a number of recruiters who will help prepare you for your role as a fire watch guard.