Fire Watch Security Expectations Vs Reality

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Fire watch security is always a hot topic. And why shouldn’t it be? After all, fire watch security guards are crucial in the security industry. With that said, there are some things every person should know about fire watch security guards! So, let’s go over some expectations and reality when it comes to fire watch security guards.

What is different about fire watch security?

Fire watch security guards are a bit different from regular security guards. They usually have to be on the lookout for potential fire hazards. However, this does not mean that they can’t perform the same duties as regular security guards. Many fire watch security guards can do both! So, if you need someone to patrol your property or monitor your CCTV cameras, a fire watch security guard will be able to handle that!

In some instances, a fire watch can be needed after a fire alarm or sprinkler system malfunctions, which is why it is essential to have a plan in place for when those situations arise. No matter what the circumstance may be, you must have a company that you can rely on during emergencies to protect your business at all times.

When a fire alarm is triggered, these professionals will be dispatched to assess the situation and take action if necessary. To handle this responsibility, fire watch security guards should have extensive training in the following areas:

  • Self-defence
  • Fire safety
  • Medical response
  • Disaster preparedness

Expectations vs Reality

The job of a fire watch security guard won’t always involve a literal fire. Sometimes, alarms are triggered due to other factors like severe weather or false alarms. In these cases, the professional will still be responsible for assessing the situation and taking action accordingly. Again, this is why proper training and licensing is so important. Without it, a fire watch security guard may not know how to respond in times of crisis.

So, we see that there are many confusions regarding the nature of this job. If you are thinking of making a career out of this, it is better to first understand what you can and cannot do so you don’t have any unrealistic expectations. This is a list of what you might be thinking of this job and what it might not be.


I’m going to get paid lots of money for doing nothing.


You will be paid for your time, but for the most part, you are expected to stay awake and alert at all times. There have been cases where guards have fallen asleep while on duty, resulting in serious injuries or death due to fire or other hazards. Your job as a Fire Watch Security Officer is to protect the lives of others, and this must always be taken seriously.


I don’t need any experience; it’s only an entry-level job.


Most states require that all security officers are licensed before working in their state. This means being fingerprinted, passing a background check, and completing training courses online or in-person at a local training facility. You will also need to give written exams covering criminal law and specific state laws.

Expectation: I’ll be able to sleep while I’m on the job.

Reality: No, you won’t. Your job is to stay awake and keep the premises safe.

Expectation: I won’t have to do anything unless a problem occurs.

Reality: You have to do regular patrols, check doors and windows, write in logs, answer questions, and more.

Expectation: I don’t need any training.

Reality: You need to know how to deal with various situations. Fire watch training is essential for this type of work.

Expectation: I won’t need any special equipment for the job.

Reality: You will need a lot of equipment apart from the equipment you use to put out fires. If you can take it with you (like a flashlight), bring it. It might just come in handy someday.

Bottom Line

Most of us who have worked in security for an extended time have had to deal with fire watch duty at some point during our careers. It’s one of those things that you know will be part of your daily duties, but you aren’t sure exactly what will be required. There are many different requirements based on the local jurisdiction and codes.

The most important thing that I always tell fire watch people is when they are on a fire watch, the assignment is to never leave the location alone. There are many people out there looking for an easy target, and this is where they will find it. Be sure that you work in pairs whenever possible so that there is always someone nearby to assist if needed.

If you should happen to discover a fire, immediately take action and notify local authorities and contact your supervisor. If there aren’t any other employees on-site, make sure you call for assistance.

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