Performing a fire watch

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS) routinely finds buildings where important fire safety systems like fire alarms or sprinklers are turned off or not working.

Fire watch requirements

In accordance with the Fire By-law Division B, sentence 6.1.1.2.(1), “Fire protection installations shall be maintained in operation condition.”

A fire watch may be ordered by any uniform member of VFRS under the authority of the Fire By-law Division C, sentence 1.4.3.2.(3), “The Fire Chief and every Member may issue a Fire Watch Order in a form prescribed by the Fire Chief, and as amended by the Fire Chief from time to time.” 

The fire watch may be conducted by a professional fire watch service, or by occupants of the building designated by the building owner(s) or the building’s fire safety director.

Learn more about the 24 hour fire watch requirements (2.2 MB)

To keep things safe, we require a 24-hour fire watch until a qualified technician fixes and restores these systems to working condition.

A fire watch may be required:

  • When doing tasks with tools that create heat, such as welding, cutting, or using open flames
  • When a tent or air-supported structure is occupied by more than 1000 people
  • When a helicopter lands on a building roof deck landing area
  • During construction, alteration, or demolition operations
  • When any portion of a fire protection system is temporarily shut down or inoperable 

Cancelling a fire watch notice

The fire watch can only be removed by a uniformed member of VFRS or a qualified technician.

Complete this form once you have completed the required repairs.

  • It is the responsibility of the owner or the owner’s representative to cancel the fire watch once the fire safety system has been repaired and fully restored.
  • Once the fire watch program has been cancelled, the owner or owner’s representative must notify the alarm monitoring company (if applicable) and provide VFRS with the appropriate documentation.