Why Wireless Technology Reduces the Need for Waking Watches

  • 14th Feb 2024

According to data from the London Fire Brigade, over 1,000 buildings in London need “Waking Watches” in place* due to fire safety issues. This is just data for London so imagine what the picture looks like for the whole of the UK.

Stephen Marsh, Head of Sales at Cygnus, explains why the new Cygnus wireless fire detection and alarm systems should be installed in order to replace the temporary measure of Waking Watches. The SmartNet wireless system can make the process of installing and commissioning simple and efficient, with minimal disruption to the building or occupants.

What is a Waking Watch?

The Leasehold Advisory Service describes a Waking Watch as a fire safety system where suitably trained staff continually patrol the floors and the exterior perimeter of a building to maintain the safety of its occupants from fire**. Its aim is to ensure that occupants have sufficient warning in the event of a fire and is required if dangerous cladding has been found on the building or if any fire safety issues mean the ‘stay put’ evacuation policy needs to change to simultaneous evacuation. If a Waking Watch is put in place, it means 24-hour patrols are required to look for signs of a fire.

According to data collected from June to September 2020 by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the median monthly Waking Watch cost per building is £11,361 and the median monthly Waking Watch cost per dwelling is £137***.

Although a programme of remediation is in place, for some homeowners and tenants, there is no end in sight. It could be two, three or five years until the cladding on some buildings can be replaced leaving occupants, building owners and property management companies with on-going costs and inevitable worry. So, what can be done to support those responsible for buildings and tenants to reduce the need for Waking Watches?

Introducing SmartNet

Utilising the renowned and patented Cygnus wireless mesh protocol, SmartNet offers a reliable, robust and adaptable solution that is up to twenty times faster to install than other systems. It is the world’s first EN 54 certified and 100% wireless fire detection and alarm system that rapidly detects and alerts users to signs of smoke or heat, whilst also being resilient to false alarms.

As SmartNet is fully wireless it eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming cabling, which is extremely important in an occupied building. It ensures minimal disruption for tenants and means a system can be installed in a matter of days. The powerful mesh network reduces the need for radio surveys to speed-up installation further.

The SmartNet system is built on a combination of battery powered radio devices, operating on a self-forming, self-healing mesh network making it a robust and reliable solution, allowing building managers to stand down the Waking Watch.

Government funding

The Government launched the Waking Watch Replacement Fund in May 2023, which is a £18.6 million fund to install alarms and replace costly Waking Watch measures in all residential buildings in England where a Waking Watch is currently in place. The new fund builds on the progress made by the initial Waking Watch Relief Fund and the Waking Watch Replacement Fund 2022. The additional funding is aimed at incentivising the installation of fire alarms and protecting more residents in more buildings pending their full remediation or the provision of long-term mitigation measures.

The application for funding ends on 31st March 2024 so now is an ideal time to speak to your customers and explain the benefits of installing a new Cygnus SmartNet wireless fire detection and alarm system.

Waking Watches are costly and concerning for tenants. A SmartNet wireless fire alarm and detection system from Cygnus simply makes sense so get in touch with us today to find out more about our solution.  



Cygnus is revolutionising the industry with its EN 54 certified SmartNet system, the world’s first 100% wireless fire detection and alarm system for permanent installation. The ‘Made in Britain’ registered SmartNet is a game changer for the sector. Featuring patented Cygnus technology, it is quick and easy to install and can be scaled effectively from small to large installations.


Find out more