Since the devastating 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in west London, which led to 72 lost lives, buildings are now more closely inspected for potentially unsafe building materials. The Grenfell Tower fire was blamed on highly flammable cladding panels. Cladding is the process of adding new layers of material to the outside of a building. It may be added to increase protection from harsh weather conditions, improve insulation, or enhance the appearance of a building.
Today, more than 1,000 buildings in London need round-the-clock monitoring due to potentially harmful building materials. These buildings require 24-hour “waking watches,” often trained security officers to patrol each floor of the building. Waking watches were introduced as a direct response to the Grenfell Tower by the National Fire Chiefs Council. A waking watch is a fire safety system where trained staff patrol the floors and exterior of apartment blocks and other types of multiple occupancy dwellings to ensure the safety of its occupants from fire and provide sufficient warning in the event of a fire so occupants can evacuate safely.
However, it’s not just older buildings that have been identified as using harmful building materials. Recently more than 100 new buildings were identified as using flammable cladding or not equipping the building with proper fire safety measures like smoke detectors, fire alarms, sprinklers, or fire doors, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).
A waking watch in London typically costs a median average of £137 per dwelling per month, paid for by residents. The government has a £4bn fund intended to remove unsafe cladding on residential buildings 18 metres and over. Still, the government is also trying to force developers to cover these costs themselves.
How Security Companies Are Helping to Staff the Waking Watch Service
Security companies often provide the staff for waking watch patrol services. They provide in-depth briefings and fire marshall training for their officers. Teams are highly qualified and skilled officers who have a duty of care to be vigilant proactive, and spot anything that might compromise the safety of both residential and commercial properties. The patrols are typically monitored in real-time using security workforce management software equipment with GPS technology allowing security companies and clients to know where the officers are patrolling at any given time. Security officers also complete Fire Safety Check Lists and this data is provided to the client.
TrackTik was founded in 2013 and quickly established itself as a market leader with the mission to build better software so its clients can run smarter businesses. TrackTik’s cloud-based technology enables security organizations to connect frontline staff, back office management, and their clients to drive improved operational efficiency and data insights. TrackTik helps security professionals make automated, data-driven decisions with its seamless approach to system connectivity. Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, with offices in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, TrackTik offers four integrated suites of tools – Security Operations for Guarding, Back Office Management, Mobile Patrol and Dispatch, and Business Intelligence & Reporting Analytics, to help security service companies follow the progression of guards, reduce manual tasks, lower costs, and demonstrate value.