Depending on the jurisdiction of a country, the government can mandate that private business owners or directors make use of a fire watch guard on their premises for protection. Not having a fire watch service on premise can hold a business responsible for violating state laws concerning fire safety and control. The regulations governing when businesses are responsible for their own fire safety are different from country to country.
The standards set by each state differ when it comes to fire watch guards. In most jurisdictions, on-site security services are required. When there is on-site supervision, fire watch guards may be employed by security services to man guardrails, lookout posts, and access control points. While on-site security services are not always mandated in every state, businesses still need to comply.
When security services are employing fire watches on duty, a business has the responsibility of submitting a written application stating why and with whom they will be patrolling. Applications for on-call guards should specify the duty areas as well as the hours during which patrol services will be present. In addition, a business should submit documentation proving that they have adequate on-site fire watches and staff. These documents may include photographs and floor plans of the areas in which security services will be present. Additionally, a business must ensure that they submit the application in writing to the appropriate authority.
When on duty, Fire Watch Guards are required to undergo a training program as well as follow specific procedures during their shifts. During their patrol time, fire watch guards are required to: observe and report all suspicious activities; keep a written record of all suspicious activities; conduct unannounced vehicle checks; report at least one suspicious death occurrence and its details; and report any suspicious injuries or incidents. The role of these officers varies according to the size of a business. The requirements for patrol units are different than those of on-call guards.
Fire watch guards are tasked to respond to emergencies only. In most areas, it is against policy to divert an ambulance to an active fire site or scene of a reported accident because doing so may put lives at risk. Fire Watch Guards is also responsible for calling in the police if there is reason to suspect foul play or danger from fire hazards. If police arrive at the scene after the call was made, they will take control of the situation. This means that if the fire department is not able to contain the blaze, the police will have to do so.
It is clear that the responsibilities of fire watch guards are unique and very demanding. They have to be aware of potential dangers from fire hazards on a daily basis, and must be able to act quickly and responsibly when such dangers occur. When working in conjunction with police and other first responders, fire watch guards are responsible for protecting lives and property while on duty. Working in a busy and potentially dangerous construction site puts these individuals in a position that could put their lives in the line.