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Do you need to be contractually protected for performing Fire Watch

January 24, 2024
Do you need to be contractually protected for performing Fire Watch
         NYC code states that if a fire protection system is impaired there must be a fire watch.  If it is a planned event the fire watch must be in place prior to impairing the system; if an emergency situation (broken pipe, broken alarm) you have 4 hours to correct, and if not restored a fire guard is required.  The fire guard(s) must have an FDNY FO1 certificate of fitness.
          I have FO1 certificate of fitness and sometimes act as fire guards to comply with the FDNY requirements for fire watch during testing, system alterations or repairs.
Rarely, but on occasion, we get a call to supply a fire guard while others are doing work on a system in a building we service.
          Where do we stand contract wise? Do the Fire All in One or and Fire Protection All in One agreements protect us?  Do we need a separate or supplemental agreement?
          Good question, and it’s not limited to NYC where fire watch is required, but in all places where NFPA 72 fire watch rules have been codified.  Neither the Fire All in One [which is for commercial fire alarms] nor the Fire Protection All in One [which is for fire protection or suppression systems] provide for fire watch.  Most fire alarm companies, or alarm companies who sell commercial fire alarms, do not offer fire watch.  If a fire alarm is out of service, and the firm alarm is professionally monitored, the central station will notify the dealer, or customer, or both, that the system is out of service.  That notification should also advise the customer that fire watch will be required if the system is not restored to service in time.  The central station, or alarm dealer if it’s in the loop on the fire alarm is out of service, should also advise the customer what fire watch entails and that it’s the customer’s responsibility to get [and pay for] fire watch.
          If fire watch is your primary business or you offer it separate from your alarm or fire protection business, you will need a separate contract [which K&K does not current offer].  If you use the Fire All in One or Fire Protection All in One you can provide for fire watch by detailing the service, and cost, in the Schedule of Equipment and Services.  You could also use a separate Rider, though there is no reason the wording can’t simply by incorporated in the Schedule of Equipment and Services.
          Fire watch is of course a costly service because of the man power required, and it exposes you to all if not more of the risk and liability issues you have with the fire alarm or protection systems you install. 

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301