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Fire Watch Order

901.7 Systems out of service. Where a required fire protection system is out of service, the fire department and the fire code official shall be notified immediately and, where required by the fire code official, the building shall be either evacuated or an approved fire watch shall be provided for all occupants left unprotected by the shutdown until the fire protection system has been returned to service. Where utilized, fire watches shall be provided with not less than one approved means for notification of the fire department and their only duty shall be to perform constant patrols of the protected premises and keep watch for fires.


Fire Watch Order 

The Information contained within this document is intended to offer guidance for a facility or business that incurs impairment to a life safety system.  When a fire protection system (fire alarm, fire sprinkler, or other life safety system) is out of service for any duration, the building shall either be evacuated or an approved Fire Watch Order shall be initiated.  This document is intended to outline the minimum parameters of an acceptable Fire Watch.  Additional requirements may be found in the International Fire Code or may be required by your insurance provider.


Responsibility: It is the responsibility of the owner, occupant, or senior staff member in charge of a facility or business to provide for the safety of their employees, customers, and guests.  Every facility shall appoint an Impairment Coordinator who is responsible for complying with this document and the requirements outlined within the International Fire Code.  In the absence of a specific designee the senior member of staff assumes this responsibility.

The Myrtle Beach Fire Department requires at least (1) fire watch person for building(s) 12 stories or less.  Building(s) over 12 stories shall be required to have at least (2) fire watch persons.  


How do I conduct a Fire Watch?

A fire watch consists of one or more qualified persons performing these functions:

1) Keeping diligent watch for fires

2) Preventing fire ignition sources

3) Ensuring adequate means of egress and removing obstructions to egress as necessary

4) Promptly remediating hazards that are found

5) Being prepared to contact the fire department with a cell phone or radio to directly notify 911 of an emergency. 

6) Being ready to extinguish any fires using a portable fire extinguisher

7) Warning the occupants of any hazardous conditions requiring evacuation


How do I organize a Fire Watch?

It's important to take the time to properly organize a fire watch.  Staff should continually patrol the area, structure or facility and document the constant patrol a minimum of once every hour.  Ensure staff are trained in the use of a fire extinguisher and have one accessible at all times.  Staff shall be capable of communicating with building occupants and the fire department to notify them about fires or other emergencies.  Staff shall maintain a record of the Fire Watch Log for each impairment.  This Fire Watch Log shall be emailed along with the correction paperwork from a licensed company for inspection by the City of Myrtle Beach Fire Department.  The Fire Watch Log shall consist of the Date, Time, Name of person performing the Fire Watch, the area or floor, and any additional comments necessary.


You are hereby notified that this is an official ORDER of the City of Myrtle Beach Fire Department concerning the lack of required fire protection for the above named premises, as per the International Fire Code and the City of Myrtle Beach Code of Ordinances.  As owner, agent or person in charge of said premises, you shall make or arrange to make corrections to the affected fire protection system(s) immediately.  Failure to comply with this order shall result in issuance of a Uniform Ordinance Summons and can cause immediate evacuation of said premises.  


In order for a Fire Watch Order to be discontinued, building management will submit all paperwork by the licensed company completing repairs to  Once received, and the indicating paperwork states that all repairs have been corrected and system is restored to full operation, the Fire Marshal's office will then discontinue the Fire Watch Order. 

Fire Watch Checklist

  • Document start time for the fire watch 

  • Provide cell phone, portable radios or other communications devices for watch team members

  • Procedure to notify the fire department of emergencies

  • Procedure to notify building occupants of emergencies or to manually activate the building fire alarm system

  • Building keys to allow access to appropriate areas of the building during the watch

  • Organize team and systematically patrol areas in building

  • Firefighting equipment available for emergencies – portable fire extinguishers or light hose lines

  • Fire watch team members should be trained – (yearly refresher training is recommended)

  • System Outages – Communication means with Outage Coordinator or contractor

  • Hot work – Communication means with Hot Work Coordinator and fire extinguisher(s) within 30 feet of hot work area

  • Demolition/Construction – Communication means with construction team

  •  Events – Communications means with event team and Fire Marshal Office

  • Prevent small fires from reaching dangerous proportions

  • Notify building occupants and the fire department of emergencies

  • Identify ignition sources and remove nearby combustible material

  • Remove obstructions to safe evacuation of the space

  • Maintain manual firefighting equipment in good condition

  • Document the fire watch activities in an organized log

  • Document end time for the fire watch

Click Here to Download 

Fire Watch Log

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