Thursday, December 16, 2010

Community Warning: Fire Inspection Fraud

Reports of unscrupulous business practices have come to attention of the Lakeside Fire Protection District.  Our Fire Department wants to insure that you are aware of unsolicited inspections for fire protection systems, fire extinguishers and other fire and life safety issues. Businesses in the San Diego County area have been victimized by persons claiming to have been sent by the “Fire Marshal”, “Fire Department”, “property owner” or as a “representative of the landlord” to conduct inspections.

The Lakeside Fire Department does NOT hire private parties to conduct business inspections. Fire Code Compliance Inspections are conducted by Fire Department personnel in uniform, wearing badges and carrying department identification cards. The Fire Department does not send private contractors to your business. If you have any doubts about an inspection or if you are approached by non-fire department personnel who tell you they were sent by the “Fire Marshal” or the “Fire Department” to conduct an inspection, please call the Fire Department immediately at (619) 390-2350 or the San Diego County Sheriff Department at (858) 565-5200 or (619) 956-4000. A description of the persons and the vehicles involved would be helpful and greatly appreciated.

To avoid being victimized by these unscrupulous business practices, remember these “Watch Out” situations:

1.      A service person who identifies themselves as a member of the fire department or says they’ve been referred by the local fire department, owner or landlord to perform a service or inspection.

2.      You are asked to sign a blank invoice – do not sign blank invoices!

3.      The service person arrives unannounced or has not contacted your business to service your fire extinguishers.

4.      The service person uses the portable fire extinguisher Certificate of Registration as a way to service other fire protection systems or equipment.

5.      The service person requests cash for payment.

6.      The service person does not have identification visibly posted on their body.

7.      The service person will not give you an estimate of charges before the work begins or is completed.

8.      The service person wants to inspect your exit lights, doors and exit hardware.

9.      Do not let the service person remove any of your fire extinguishers – they belong to you! Do not let them replace your extinguishers with “loaners”

10. You do not need quarterly fire sprinkler system inspections from an outside firm.

If you have any questions  please do not hesitate to call your Fire Department.


J. Charles Weber
Deputy Fire Marshal/Fire Captain
Fire Prevention Division

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