Starting A Career As A Fire Watch Guard

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Aug 12, 2020

Aug 12, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

For construction managers, commercial property owners, and business owners, one continual concern about a construction site or a large professional building, is that of a potential fire. Whether a new building, undergoing repairs, or simply maintaining a commercial site, there is an abundance of potential inflammatory material, a lot of equipment, and constant use of electricity which can translate to a formula for disaster.

Having fire insurance coverage is a must, but also hiring fire watch guard will not only help ease the mind but will protect the construction site or commercial property.

Requirements to Become a Fire Watch Guard

Becoming a fire watch guard is a lot easier than you might think. Below is a list of the basic eligibility requirements to work as a fire watch guard. Some of these requirements might be slightly different in your state, but this list should give you a pretty good idea of how to qualify as a fire watch guard in most locations.

  • You must be at least 18 years of age or older.
  • You must have a High School Diploma or GED.
  • You must possess a state-issued driver’s license that has not expired.
  • You must be a United States citizen or possess the necessary authorization to be employed in the United States legally.
  • You must pass a standard drug test and criminal background check.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have a college or a university degree to become a fire watch guard. There are no requirements to have any fire training either. However, you will be required to have a Class “D” Security License.

In most states, a Class “D” license means you are an unarmed security officer. The training to receive such a license is very simple. You’ll likely have to attend 40 hours of security training in a classroom environment. The school and its teacher must be authorized and approved by the state to issue credits toward the license.

Class “D” Security Licenses are basic security licenses, though. The security training won’t teach you how to spot fires or faulty anti-fire equipment. Instead, it will teach you how to do the standard duties of a security guard, such as how to interact with trespassers and what to do if they won’t leave the property. If you want to receive supplemental training in the field of fire watch guarding, then you can always attend a security school devoted to that type of training.

Just keep in mind that the law does not require fire watch guards to have any formal fire prevention training. But it might be useful to have additional training in fire prevention so you can impress employers and get hired faster. It all depends on how much experience you already have as a security guard. If you already have a lot of security experience, then employers will be more willing to hire you as a fire watch guard even if you have no experience in the fire prevention field.

It is not difficult to receive fire watch guard training while on the job. If you can learn how to use a fire extinguisher, fire hose, and fire hydrant, then you’ll have most of the knowledge necessary. Aside from that, you’ll be expected to maintain a fire log every day and check on the anti-fire equipment periodically.

Just What Do Fire Watch Guard Services Do?

They are not actual firemen, rather fire watch guards are highly-educated personnel in fire prevention. Some of what they do entails:

Using their expertise for spotting potential problems not only through the sense of sight but also smell and touch. Fire watch guards look for what could be a fire risk before there is an actual problem.

Providing 24-hour patrol and continually monitoring your commercial site with walkthroughs in and around it.

Offering equipment checks to ensure that fire alarms, sprinklers, extinguishers, blankets, and the like are all in their proper place and properly functioning. Similarly, a fire watch guard will check to assure signage is properly in place along with escape plans. 

Providing and monitoring logs and fire watch guards are knowledgeable in keeping proper documentation of their patrol findings. Such logs can be reviewed by company owners or construction site managers at any time, and, should any fire occur, are needed by authorities and insurance carriers.

Immediately contact of fire department and management should there be any sign of fire, the first call being made to the fire department. The fire watch guard will then contact property managers or owners. Potential problem spots also require contacting owners or managers.

Common Potential Fire Sources

Within any commercial facility or construction site, there are naturally some possible potential fire sources. They include:

Chemicals and gas — Permanent or temporary storage of such things as equipment, gas tanks, and various chemicals. Lids or caps may not be secured, storage area doors may not be closed tightly, and bottles or tanks may be left in abnormal places. Not only is fluid flammable, but the fumes could also be. 

Faulty wiring — Electrical fires are not that uncommon. Lines overheating, debris getting caught, or an improper wire in the wrong place can cause sparks that can result in a fire.

Trash and cigarettes — Any buildup of a variety of trash, including packing materials, is susceptible to catching on fire from a possible cigarette butt not completely out or other heat sources.

Professionals Ensure Proper Security and Requirements

When hiring a company to protect your company or site, you want top-level guards with the training and experience to protect your business while complying with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, as well as local requirements within your city and state. 

OSHA provides a variety of safety guidelines for which businesses must comply. Naturally, fire safety falls under these important guidelines, and professional fire watch guards must be familiar with all of them. Fire prevention plans for any workplace must be available, and posted, for any employee to review. A fire safety guard can help prepare a prevention plan for your business, and see that it is implemented while your business remains compliant. 

Prevention plans must include sources of any possible fire hazards as well as procedures for handling and storing such materials. The job title of the employee responsible for maintaining equipment for prevention, and control of potential fire sources, must also be provided. Any new hire must be made aware of potential fire hazards at the onset, and all employees must be advised of any changes in possible hazards.

Fire safety service guards properly educate and train business owners, so they remain compliant avoiding possible fines or shut-downs which occur when OSHA requirements are not met. On top of that, fire safety professionals are currently on any local and/or state level government requirements.

Also, there are some locations that require fire watch guards to be on duty throughout construction projects, and until inspections are passed.