The Importance of Waking Watch

Waking watch (also known as fire watch) is a response to the emergence of fire safety issues in and around buildings. It involves one or more officers patrolling a block or development, and their duties involve detecting a fire, contacting the Fire & Rescue Service, warning people immediately in the building and taking actions dictated by the building’s fire management strategy, to maintain the safety of its occupants. The service is provided to a range of different premises, some of which include commercial property, residential high-rise buildings, and low-rise buildings where cladding may be of concern.


Waking watch officers, including Fire Wardens and Watchmen, have a duty to be consistently alert and pro-active, in order to notice any unusual changes, that may compromise the safety of their sites.

The waking watch was a measure first introduced by the NFCC, in the immediate aftermath of Grenfell. There are over 420 buildings across the UK that are protected by a 24-hour waking watch. Since Grenfell, there have been over 300 fires that have occurred in them. 289 of the buildings with waking watches are in London (68%), and the London Fire Brigade has responded to 263 fires in these buildings since Grenfell. This data was collated from the responses from 40 of the UK’s 50 fire authorities.


After the tragedy at Grenfell, the immediate question was raised, in how many other people are living at such dangerous premises’? The answer is shocking. Across the UK, there and hundreds and thousands of tenants and leaseholders who are still living in unsafe buildings. It is now estimated that over 700,000 people across the UK are currently living in dangerous buildings, some of which are up to six stories high. With no fire safety measures in place in these buildings, the country is at risk of a repeat disaster. Something desperately needs to change before it becomes too late.


As of April 2020, the National Audit Office (NAO) also revealed that there are still 307 towers that still have unsafe exterior cladding. 167 of these towers have not even started having their cladding replaced.


With more and more people now stuck at home due to COVID-19 and the restrictions that have been put in place, especially those in buildings covered with flammable materials, it is even more vital than ever that there are fire safety measures in place and fast.


If you’re looking for fire safety solutions, then we can implement a waking watch strategy, where staff are designated to patrol your building and watch out for any signs of a fire, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Whether you require a waking watch service for a high-rise building, or a vacant or commercial property, we will work with you to ensure peace of mind for your residents, by regularly patrolling the premises and completing fire safety checklists.


At Local Authority Support, our waking watch officers are professional and experienced. They are proud of the work they conduct daily, to protect peoples’ safety and maintain their peace of mind. If you would like to find out more, please call us on 0330 022 9420.

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