A Fire Watch Company is a highly specialized group of personnel who respond to, assess, and prepared for potentially dangerous, wild-fire occurrences and emergencies involving potentially large, out-of-control fires. Fire watch companies consist of specially trained individuals, whose job is to conduct investigations in the most safe and efficient manner possible. They are called on to help save lives and to contain and protect property. The majority of fire watches are voluntary. However, some are mandated by the state to be conducted by agencies as part of public service.
Fire watch services are generally provided by volunteer organizations, but there are many professional fire safety companies that provide fire watch services as well. In addition to the volunteer and professional fire safety companies, several paid or contractual companies offer fire watch services. Some of the larger, professionally-run companies are well-known; others are relatively small and family-run. Many offer a variety of different services and have a long tradition of safely protecting communities from devastating firestorms.
Each fire safety company has its own unique responsibility and a unique style of operation. Most provide firewatch services in partnership with a local fire department. If you are interested in firewatch participation, it’s important to work with a fire department that has experience in fire prevention and response, and which will provide you with an assigned representative to your fire watch crew. Ideally, you should choose a company that will work with both a commercial fire safety company and a commercial/home owner’s fire safety department.
The majority of fire watches are organized around a planned series of activities. For example, one fire watch company may provide training and certification seminars for volunteer firefighters, while another may go so far as to provide a simulated fire exercise within the facility. Other companies operate on a “lifeguard” system, wherein volunteers are rotated in and out of the watch to respond should a fire occur. Finally, there are some fire safety companies who will provide their own on-site fire watches, manned by volunteer firefighters.
As a volunteer, you are an individual with a multitude of responsibilities. You will not be able to supervise all aspects of your property safe every hour, but you will be able to rest assured that your property is being looked after if a fire occurs. Your role as a volunteer is to ensure that you know where your fire watch is located, how to report an emergency, and to assist in communications between the fire department and the property manager. You should understand that your direct responsibility is to act as a liaison between your property safety department and the fire watch crew. You will receive periodic reports detailing what has been done during your period of service and will receive credit when your property is deemed safe.
You will need to take special considerations during your volunteer period in terms of your health and safety. You may be required to work through your shift at times, or may have to stay behind to tend to any emergencies that occur. For this reason, you must be able to keep up with your regular job duties while being involved with your fire watch services. As a result, it is important that you schedule a regular job schedule. A great way to do this is to create a work calendar for yourself, which can include working through your shift once per week during your voluntary service with your local fire watch company.