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, “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, “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 Order

A Fire Watch Order can be removed by either:

  • A uniformed member of the Vancouver Fire Rescue Services (VFRS)
  • A qualified ASTTBC Technician

It is the owner or owner's representative's responsibility to begin the repairs by contacting a qualified service company.

The owner, owner's representative, or technician may fill out this form after:

  • Completing the repairs and making sure the fire protection system is in working order
  • Notifying the alarm monitoring company, if applicable