Opportunists are always present, but never so much as when the economy is struggling. Various fire departments are indicating an increase of both individuals and fire protection companies posing in official-looking clothing, and performing questionable "inspections" in local businesses. An individual will typically enter businesses suggesting that they represent the fire department, and state that they "need to look at the fire protection system", "need to inspect the system" or other similar statement. After these fraudulent inspections, businesses typically receive an invoice for various services that are allegedly performed. The invoice is then followed by aggressive and professional collection efforts.
The Orange City Fire Department inspects businesses on an annual basis. Business owners, managers, and employees should not let anyone inspect their fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, hood systems, or any other protection devices unless they are under annual contracts or reach another agreement for a specific fire protection service prior to the service call. Read on to learn how to protect your business.
How You Can Protect Yourself!
An individual must do four things before you should even consider retaining them to perform any type of fire protection system services:
1. Introduce himself/herself, identify their business, and produce a business card. Allowing an individual to enter your business without a clear understanding of whom that person is, as well as his or her intentions, is not recommended.
2. Present a copy of a current business license permit from your City of Orange Business License Office, a contractor’s "C-16" (fire sprinklers and fixed protection systems) or "C-10" (fire alarms) license. Check their license at http://www.cslb.ca.gov
3. Tell you what they intend to do, and what the estimated costs will be. Never pay in cash. Invoicing and recordkeeping are important for your business and the establishment of legal avenues.
4. Leave any replaced or changed parts with you. He or she must leave you with a signed invoice.
Remember! You may always refuse service and contact the Orange City Fire Department for guidance. We will gladly advise you of any required service schedules for your fire protection systems, and assist you in verifying that a company you choose is qualified to provide the appropriate inspection, testing, and maintenance.
If you have any questions call the Orange City Fire Department Fire Investigation Unit at 714-288-2549 / 714 288-2500