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Fire Watch - Cameras Instead of Personnel

Can a fire watch be established solely with cameras?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only.

Annex A in NFPA 25 (2011 edition) Standard for the Inspection, testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems defines what is needed for a fire watch: 
"A fire watch should consist of trained personnel who continuously patrol the affected area. Ready access to fire extinguishers and the ability to promptly notify the fire department are important items to consider. During the patrol of the area, the person should not only be looking for fire, but making sure that the other fire protection features of the building such as egress routes and alarm systems are available and functioning properly."

For organizations seeking CMS deemed status, from Federal Register Vol. 81, No. 86 Wednesday, May 4, 2016 Rules and Regulations, CMS states:
"We believe a fire watch would consist of dedicated staff with no other duties constantly circulating throughout the facility or the portion of the facility affected by the sprinkler system impairment looking for a fire, fire hazards or hazardous conditions that may affect the fire safety of the facility.  Facilities may wish to maintain documentation of the rounds of a fire watch, but this is not required."

The Joint Commission does not allow cameras to be used instead of on-site fire watches performed by personnel as described above. Cameras may be used as a supplement to fire watches by personnel, but not as a sole substitute. Cameras cannot replace human smell and hearing senses, and sight scanning and focusing abilities to identify smoldering, fire and smoke development in their early stages.

Reference LS.01.02.01 EP2 
Manual: Home Care
Chapter: Life Safety LS
Last reviewed by Standards Interpretation: July 12, 2023 Represents the most recent date that the FAQ was reviewed (e.g. annual review).
First published date: April 11, 2016 This Standards FAQ was first published on this date.
This page was last updated on July 12, 2023 with update notes of: Review only, FAQ is current Types of changes and an explanation of change type: Editorial changes only: Format changes only. No changes to content. | Review only, FAQ is current: Periodic review completed, no changes to content. | Reflects new or updated requirements: Changes represent new or revised requirements.
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