Hot Work Fire Watch: Simple Task, Hot Importance
What are the requirements and responsibilities of a Fire Watch?
Fire Watch Requirements
- A Fire Watch is required for open-flame hot work or whenever Operations requires one due to conditions in the area.
- Fire Watches are required to wear a vest as their outer most garment identifying them as the fire watch.
- The Fire Watch shall be equipped with appropriate type of fire extinguisher and/or water hose. The extinguisher type will be established on the Hot Work permit. If for any reason if you feel there is an issue with the type of extinguisher or fire hose you have, shut down the work and contact your supervisor.
- Fire Watches are required to stay on site for at least a half hour after completion of hot work, through breaks and after hours as needed, to detect and extinguish possible smoldering fires.
Fire Watch Responsibilities
- Watch the hot work and surrounding area.
- Have and maintain line-of-sight to hot work being watched. A fire watch may watch more than one hot work activity as long as it is in unobstructed view and within a 30 ft. radius. If no line-of-sight or beyond 30 ft., have additional fire-watches. Work may require Fire Watches on both sides of a wall or vessel shell.
- Have firefighting equipment in hands or within arms’ reach. Do not take or rely on the fire extinguishers that are on the Operating Units for fire watch duties.
- Inspect extinguishing equipment before the hot work starts – Check connections, hydrants, hoses, extinguishers or other components for operability, discoloration, corrosion, or wear. Verify pressure is ok, and tag is current.
- Wet down areas where combustibles may be present, to reduce chance of ignition.
- Ensure containment and barricading is sufficient to control slag and sparks.
- Verify that a 4 gas meter is present at the hot work at all times. If LEL readings change (beyond meter “drift”) or the meter goes into alarm, hot work must be shut down.
- Only try to extinguish fires when they are small enough to handle with your on-hand fire extinguishing equipment. Call your site emergency response number immediately prior to trying to extinguish fire.
- All fires, even flash-fires, must be reported to the site emergency operations center.
- Stop (and don’t start) unauthorized hot work.
- Do not perform any other duty that might interfere with primary duties as Fire Watch.