East Lake Fire Rescue

Copyright © East Lake Fire Rescue.

Note: This information is provided to clarify the requirements for a fire watch. A fire watch is the action of an on-site person whose sole responsibility is to watch for the occurrence of fire. 
Fire Watch Requirements

A fire watch may be required for any of the following reasons:

• Fire alarm system fully or partially out of service.
• Sprinkler system fully or partially out of service.
• Fire pump is out of service.
• Special hazards.
• Other conditions as required by the Fire Department.

If any of these conditions occur and cannot be corrected within four hours, the building owner, or their representative is required by the Florida Fire Prevention Code (FFPC) to either vacate the building or provide a fire watch until the system is repaired, or the hazard mitigated. 

Owner Responsibilities

1. Notify the Fire Department that the system is not working and again when the system has been repaired. 
2. Contact a licensed contractor to repair the system and attain any required permits. 
3. Establish, instruct, and maintain fire watch personnel. 
4. Train fire watch personnel to ensure that they are knowledgeable about the property being protected, including the following: 

  • Floor layout of all buildings, floors, occupancies, and hazards
  • Hazardous materials and processes, if any, and location of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
  • Emergency shutdown procedures and equipment
  • Fixed fire protection systems
  • Manual and automatic detection and alarm systems
  • Portable fire protection equipment
  • Facility emergency action plan and procedures
  • Any construction operations

Fire Watch Duties

Persons serving as a fire watch cannot have any other duties except the fire watch. Fire watch duties will consist of the following: 

1. Conduct periodic patrols of the affected areas and maintain a record of the fire watch for inspection by East Lake Fire Rescue.
2. Be trained in the use of a fire extinguisher and have one accessible at all times.
3. Identify any fire, signs of fire, life or property hazards. 
3. Knowledge of building floor layout, hazardous areas, emergency shut down procedures, emergency evacuation plan, etc. 
4. Check all exits and exit access corridors to ensure means of egress are clear and unobstructed. 
5. Check sprinkler system valves are in open position, if applicable. 
6. Check for any smoking violations, or other sources of ignition. 
7. The fire watch must have at least one means of direct communication with the Fire Department. (a cell phone is acceptable) 
8. If a fire is discovered, the fire watch must first notify the Fire Department immediately by calling 9-1-1 and give exact address and location of the fire. 
9. The fire watch personnel must then notify occupants of the need to evacuate. If the fire alarm horns or public-address system are still functional, use them to notify occupants. If appliances are not functional, then other means of notification must be available (i.e., bull horns). 
10. Have knowledge of the location and use of fire protection equipment, such as fire extinguishers and occupant hose lines. (The fire watch will not perform fire-fighting duties beyond the scope of ordinary citizens) 
11. Maintain a logbook of fire watch activity. 

Frequency of Patrols

Fire watch personnel shall patr
ol the entire area affected every 30 minutes. In large buildings additional fire watch personnel shall be assigned in order to achieve the required frequency.

Record Keeping

A fire watch log book must be maintained at the building. The log book must be available to the Fire Department at all times during the fire watch. The log book should contain the following information: 

1. Address of the building.
2. Date and time of each patrol through the affected area.
3. Name of person(s) conducting fire watch.
4. Records of communications with the Fire Department and licensed contractor doing the repairs.
5. Other information as required by the Fire Department. (i.e., equipment, inspection logbooks)

The completed daily fire watch log must be delivered to East Lake Fire Department at 3375 Tarpon Lake Blvd, Palm Harbor 34685 every day, or emailed to jgennaro@elfr.org.

It is the responsibility of the owner, or their representative, to contact the on-duty Division Chief once the fire protection systems are repaired or the hazard has been mitigated. After the Fire Department has confirmed that systems requiring the fire watch are fully operational, then the Fire Department will terminate the fire watch. The Division Chief can be reached at 727.784.8668.