How Many Fire Guards Are Needed Per Building

What is a Fire Guard

Guards perform sire safety duties and participate in fire watch, including:

  • Knowledge of fire extinguishers and/or alarm pull stations
  • Identify and control fire hazards
  • Detect early signs of fire
  • Raise alarm for a fire
  • Notifying the FDNY 

When Are Guards Required

When any of the following are not in service:

  • Standpipe System
  • Sprinkler System
  • Fire Alarm System

If these systems are not working and nobody is monitoring the building, it will need to be evacuated. Fire guards patrol every floor/area where these systems are out of order at least once an hour.

Each guard monitors a maximum of 50,000 square feet (4645m2).


Temporary Places of Assembly (TPAs) are permits for when there is a gathering within a space that does not normally have a high volume of people. They last for a maximum of 30 days, but are normally used for events that These events need a fire guard if there are at least 75 people. There should be at least one present at the event per every 100 people in attendance.

In case there is an emergency, fire guards lead egress.

With this kind of permit, guards do not need to be present when the event is not taking place.

Becoming a Fire Guard

You must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Decently proficiency with English

Bring with you to the test

  • Two forms of ID (one must be government issued and have your photo) 
  • This Certificate of Fitness application form, completed
  • $25 to cover the application fee
  • A recommendation letter from your employer 
    • You don’t need this letter if you don’t currently have a job. If you pass, you’ll get a temporary letter, but won’t receive your COF card until you can provide a recommendation letter.

You’ll need to pass 14/20 of the questions

You will need to renew this every three years, along with a $15 renewal fee.

Find out more general Certificate of Fitness information here.

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