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Fire officials warn businesses of fire protection scam - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Fire officials warn businesses of fire protection scam

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Santa Barbara County fire departments are warning local business owners of recent cases of fire inspection fraud.

Fire officials say, over the past few weeks, there have been several reports of people entering businesses to perform a fire inspection survey for a fee. Often times they are disguised as members, or contracted members, of the fire department.

However, fire officials say no fire departments in the county contract with anyone to provide such services and no fire department would ever ask for money up front.

They also warn business owners to be wary of anyone coming in to service fire extinguishers, perform work on hood and duct systems over cooking areas, or servicing automatic sprinkler systems if that service was not requested or required.

They say businesses should use only licensed fire protection companies to provide those services and offer the following tips to business owners:

1. Always perform a background check on the fire inspection company and ask for current identification and business card. Only hire a contractor who has a valid California contractor's license and insurance.

2. To check contractor licenses, violations, or complaints, visit the California Contractors State License Board website. C-16 Licenses are required to service or repair a fire sprinkler system. C-10 Licenses are required to perform electrical work or repair a fire alarm system.

3. Ask the contractor which services he will provide and how much it will cost. Request the contractor to leave any defective parts that they replace.

4. If you hire a contractor to service your fire extinguishers, request to see their California State Fire Marshal fire extinguisher license with photo identification. The current list of issued licenses can be found at the State Fire Marshal's website.

Any business owner in Santa Barbara County with questions or concerns about a recent service call, or who believes they may have been a victim of such a scam, is urged to contact their local fire department:

Santa Barbara County: 805-686-5061 or email fireinfo@sbcfire.com
City of Santa Barbara: 805-56405724 or email jaustin@santabarbaraca.gov
City of Lompoc: 805-757-0709 or email d_foose@ci.lompoc.ca.us
City of Santa Maria: 805-925-0951 x255 or email eenriquez@ci.santa-maria.ca.us
Montecito Fire Protection District: 805-969-2537 or email jreed@montecitofire.com
Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District: 805-684-4591 or email r.evans@csfd.net

Related coverage:
Scam Central
 

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