The Ongoing Need for Waking Watch

The safety of buildings in which the decision has been made to move to a simultaneous evacuation strategy due to the potential for rapid fire spread on the exterior of the buildings, is reliant upon the provision of an effective Waking Watch.

A Waking Watch should consist of suitable, trained and equipped individuals, who will provide the function of detecting a fire, raising the alarm, assisting in coordinating the evacuation of the building in which the waking watch is set up, and liaising with the Fire and Rescue Service on arrival.

The NFCC guidance recommends considering installing a common fire alarm as a cost effective alternative. Sentrad will help manage this.

Definition of a Waking Watch

Persons making up a Waking Watch could include either the staff of a third-party contractor, persons employed directly by the Responsible Person (e.g. Concierge) or a group of residents (subject to full consent by residents) of the building. Whichever group is used, a member of a Waking Watch is one who has:

  • received appropriate training in accordance with the requirements and the duties for Waking Watch.
  • been employed, contracted, or assigned a role to act in accordance with the requirements of the Waking Watch systems that have been implemented as part of the premises Fire Risk Assessment
  • is appropriately equipped to carry out their duties.

SIMULTANEOUS EVACUATION STRATEGY

A Little Background

In the days and weeks following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, it emerged that other buildings had similar cladding and other structural vulnerabilities comparable to that of the Grenfell Tower. The level of risk to life as a result of a fire involving these external wall systems (and shortcomings in many internal structures and works) could not be ignored. To enable people to continue to live in relative safety in their own homes, interim solutions were needed to be implemented to mitigate further risk before the necessary remedial work could be undertaken.

Interim fire safety arrangements can be adopted for the temporary, short-term management and mitigation from the risk of a fire and the risk to life if a fire occurs. These arrangements can range from simple steps to remove potential ignition sources that might give rise to a fire, through to a change in the evacuation strategy for a building, moving from Stay Put to Simultaneous Evacuation Orders, supported by the installation of a common fire alarm and/or a Waking Watch. The aim of a Waking Watch is to ensure there is sufficient warning in the event of fire and to support the agreed evacuation strategy. It is intended for very short periods of time, whilst the identified risk is being urgently addressed.

In response to the need to support Responsible Persons to implement measures effectively and consistently, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) convened a group of industry professionals to produce a technical guide on arrangements to support a temporary change to the evacuation strategy. In the absence of a common fire alarm, the central premise of this guidance is how to ensure that all residents can be alerted by the Waking Watch and an evacuation commenced within 10-15 minutes, with due regard to a number of logistical factors and the needs and vulnerabilities of all residents. In doing this, the group sought to ensure the safety of residents, and prevent removing people from their homes. This measure was never intended, nor will it ever be an acceptable alternative to carrying out all necessary internal and external remedial works in order to ensure the ongoing fire protection integrity of a building.

Now, nearly three years on, many buildings requiring urgent remediation have not yet been fixed. Many are also still being discovered to be non-compliant in terms of providing adequate safety to residents. This means that protective measures, such as Waking Watch will likely remain in place for a few years to come.

To read the full report, click on the link below:

National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Guidance

(Updated October 2020)

BASIC WAKING WATCH DUTIES...

Carrying out the most basic functions of a waking watch patrol will involve

CONTINUOUS 24/7 MONITORING
Patrolling the common areas of the building (or part depending on size) in order to indentify the occurrence of any fire.
RESPONDING TO INCIDENTS OF FIRE
Responding to the presence of fire by raising an alarm with other waking watch personnel - alerting evacuation management committee.
RAISING THE ALARM - ALERTING OTHERS
The alarm will be raised within a set area of the building using methods such as door to door or the sounding of claxons.
ACTIONING EVACUATION PLANS
Assistance will be given to carry out duties connected to any Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans in place, known as PEEPS.
REPORTING TO EVACUATION MANAGEMENT
To be done by every Waking Watch member once the alarm has been raised throughout their entire designated area.
COMPETENCY IN THE USE OF ALL EQUIPMENT
All members of Waking Watch will be confident in the use of all equipment provided as part of the evacuation management.

The Sentrad Division of AD Construction now offers clients a viable alternative to the existing waking watch providers.

A genuine temporary Waking Watch service in conjunction with the installation of common fire alarms, or phased-in remedial works.

AD Construction Group - Sentrad Division

We have pooled all the best knowledge and experience into providing a complete Waking Watch Service

Assessment

An informed and thorough initial assessment is fundamental to developing the best tailored strategy for each premises.

Training

Every role from managers, supervisors to individual watch wardens will all undergo comprehensive training to perform their duties.

Competency

All Waking Watch members are continually monitored to maintain high levels of competency when carrying out their duties.

Communication

Clear and concise communication with FRS, Responsible Persons and Residents is key to providing a good service.

To achieve first class customer service, we employ the following ethos of:

Effective Communication  -  Consultation -  Involvement  -  Innovation

Empathy  -  Information  -  Inclusivity  -  Trust

Accreditations

Make the right choice for your residents

by partnering with a company that cares about people

GET IN TOUCH...

If you wish to discuss Alarm Installations or our Waking Watch services.