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Winter Fire Watch Services: What Property Managers Need to Know

Updated: Nov 16, 2023


Winter Fire Watch Services: What Property Managers Need to Know

One of the most critical concerns for Property Managers during the cold weather months is the risk of fire alarms malfunctioning and pipes freezing, which can compromise their fire safety systems. In such situations, fire watch services become an invaluable asset, providing vital protection for residents and property.


The Cold Weather Conundrum

Cold weather can wreak havoc on the fire safety systems of multifamily properties. Two main issues arise during the winter season:

  • Fire Alarm Malfunctions: Extremely low temperatures can lead to the malfunctioning of fire alarm systems. These systems are designed to detect smoke and trigger the alarm when a fire is detected. However, when the cold weather interferes with the sensors or wiring, false alarms can become frequent. In some cases, the alarms may fail to activate at all, which can lead to disastrous consequences in the event of a fire.

  • Sprinkler System Freezing: The second major concern is the potential freezing of pipes connected to the property's sprinkler system. If the temperature drops low enough, the water inside the pipes can freeze, causing blockages and rendering the sprinklers inoperative. In an emergency, when the sprinklers are needed to suppress a fire, this can be a critical problem.

The Role of Fire Watch Services

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), when the fire alarm system and/or water-based fire protection system in a building are non-operational, Federal and State laws mandate the implementation of a fire watch.

  • Patrols: The NFPA stipulates the criteria for conducting a fire watch, which necessitates assigning trained personnel to patrol the premises actively to detect any signs of fire or smoke. Fire watch personnel typically patrol every hour to ensure they don't see smoke or fire on the premises.

  • Documentation: Employees maintain detailed records of their inspections, ensuring compliance with local regulations and providing a clear report of their patrol activity.

  • Immediate Response: In the event of an emergency, fire watch personnel are trained to respond quickly and efficiently. They must call emergency services (911) to alert the fire department and take appropriate measures to ensure everyone's safety.

Be Winter Ready

Fire watch services at multifamily properties are a critical component of ensuring the safety and security of residents during the winter months when fire alarms can malfunction, and pipes may freeze. The risk of fire is ever-present, especially during this time of year, and property owners need to be proactive in addressing these challenges. By enlisting the help of fire watch services, property owners can not only maintain compliance with local regulations but also protect the lives and property of their residents. As the cold weather sets in, this proactive approach is a vital investment in the safety of multifamily properties. It ensures that residents can enjoy a warm and secure living environment, even in harsh winter conditions.

Finding the right partners for winter readiness is a critical aspect of property management. BGSF is here to assist property managers in assembling the perfect team to tackle winter challenges head-on. With our access to specialized talent, streamlined hiring process, flexibility, and reliability, you can ensure that your property remains safe, functional, and well-prepared for the winter season. Contact us today to learn more and be better prepared for winter!

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