When ancient people first harnessed fire, little did they known that they had discovered a two-edged sword. The flames that warmed their caves and cooked the meat they ate would also someday destroy entire cities and bring death and destruction to countless millions over the ensuing eons.
Fire watchers, people whose job it is to keep a vigilant lookout for possible flammable conditions and for the flames of fire itself, have been around since ancient times. The ears, eyes and nostrils of trained and vigilant fire watchers have been invaluable throughout history in spotting fires and calling for help.
Even with the dramatic technological advances that have created fire resistant structures, warning devices and efficient fire-fighting tools and techniques, fire is still the number one threat against structures and lives. What is not as apparent to many business owners is that human fire watchers can be as important to the safety of their businesses as all of their alarms and signaling devices combined.
Most fire watch provides have fire-prevention solutions for every type of need including coverage for hospitals, special events, construction sites, restaurants and kinds of businesses.
The functions of fire watch security guards fit into two main categories. First is the onsite patrol duty to help maintain a fire-safe work environment and to spot and report actual fires as they breakout. Second is the need to oversee and protect properties already hit by a fire or in dire threat of a fire breaking out.
The U.S. Forest Service is a prime example of having alert eyes posted in prime location to spot forest fires and call for help. The U.S military has someone on fire watch patrol in all branches of the service while the rest sleep. In the Navy, an additional fire watch sailor stands ready with a fire extinguisher while any type of welding, brazing, or torch cutting is being conducted on board.
For private businesses, the choice of having a fire-watch patrol person usually comes down to a matter of money. Can they afford the expense of having fire watch guards 12 hours a day for 365 days a year? For large companies with warehouses or industrial buildings at risk, the answer should be “yes.” Even fully protected with alarms and sprinkler systems, the human observer is still an invaluable asset.
Even after a fire has brought devastation and ruin to a structure, a call to have a fire watch patrol person report for duty is a wise call. Secondary fires often erupt from smoldering embers hours or even days after a fire has supposed been extinguished.
Numerous large construction projects have been destroyed in recent years by either carelessness on the part of construction workers or deliberate acts of arson. Any building contractor who doesn’t have a fire watch patrolman on duty during off hours during the construction phase is literally playing with fire, excuse the pun. Never were the words “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” more true than making a choice to have or not have the services of a trained fire watch patrol person.