Fire Watch

If authorized by the Fire Marshal, a Fire Watch (also known as an Impairment Coordinator) may be temporarily used while a Fire Detection or Protection System is out of service for repairs or alterations. The following are minimum requirements that must be followed before a Fire Watch will be approved. Additional requirements may be ordered by the Fire Marshal as needed.

  • Fire Watch must be a minimum age of 18 years old.
  • Fire Watch must remain awake and alert at all times.
  • The Chesapeake Emergency Dispatch Center 757-382-6161 and the Fire Code Official (Inspector/Deputy Fire Marshal) must be notified of any service interruptions.
  • The alarm company must be notified regarding the extent and expected duration of the fire detection or protection system impairment.
  • Fire Watch shall not be discontinued without approval.
  • (If Fire Watch is being maintained due to a required Fire Alarm, Detection or Suppression system being out of service, the Fire Watch must be maintained 24 hours a day until the system is placed back into service).
  • Fire Watch shall be familiar with how to contact the Fire Department using the 911 system in case of fire.
  • Fire Watch must have access to telephone equipment that is capable of contacting the Fire Department.
  • Fire Watch designee must have a working knowledge of the fire alarm and its components, as well as the ability to communicate a fire alarm and effectively order an evacuation of the building.
  • Fire Watch shall be familiar with the premises and evacuation procedures for the building.
  • Fire Watch designee must also prevent fires by identifying and controlling fire hazards.
  • Fire Watch shall have access to an approved portable fire extinguisher at all times.
  • Fire Watch shall have approved training with portable fire extinguishing equipment.
    Note: If special Fire Fighting equipment is provided in the building, the Fire Watch shall have approved training in the use of the equipment (i.e. Hose stations, etc.)
  • In Places of Assembly ("A" use group) a Fire Watch must be posted in each separate room that is capable of being occupied by 49 or more people.
  • Fire Watch shall not have any other responsibilities other than being a Fire Watch.
  • Fire Watch must be posted on each floor of multiple story structures.
  • Fire Watch must conduct a complete walk through of the entire building at least one time every 30 minutes.
  • Fire Watch shall keep a written log of all patrols and shift activities.
  • When the system is repaired by a trained fire protection technician as approved by the fire code official, a copy of the work order detailing what repairs were made and that the system is now operational should immediately be sent to the Community Risk Reduction Division.
  • When any fire protection system is taken out of service it must be clearly identified with a visible tag. The tag shall be posted at each fire department connection, system control valve, fire alarm control unit, fire alarm annunciator and fire command center, indicating which system, or parts thereof, have been removed from service. The tag(s) must remain visible until the full protection system is restored.

If you have any questions about our fire watch requirements, please contact the Community Risk Reduction Division at 757-382-6566.