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Saturday, September 8, 2012

LAFD: Fake Fire Inspectors in Southern California

LAFD Firefighters Warn of Fake Fire Inspectors in Southern California

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Fire Department is warning business owners to be on the lookout for phony "fire inspectors". Businesses across the greater Los Angeles area have been targeted by scam artists wearing official-looking uniforms who claim to be examining fire safety systems by - or on behalf of - the Fire Department.

The fake inspectors typically ask an unsuspecting employee to sign a form authorizing the "inspection". Weeks or months later, a bill comes to the business owner for "work done" or "services rendered". The mailed statement, appearing to have been signed by an employee, usually demands immediate payment for an "annual inspection", threatening "penalties" for any failure to pay promptly.

The LAFD and Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office want workers and business owners to know that while Fire Department officials do examine businesses, they do not charge such fees for routine inspections.

Most troubling to Los Angeles Firefighters however, is that fake inspections may cause workers to falsely believe that fire extinguishers, alarm systems, emergency lighting, exit signage and fire sprinklers are fully up to code and operating effectively.

Before allowing any inspector to enter your business, require the individual to present government-issued identification and a business card. Local fire department officials all have badges, and their uniforms will clearly state their agency name. LAFD personnel are pleased to provide multiple ways for anyone to confirm their identity. If you suspect suspicious activity or someone impersonating a Fire Department employee, contact law enforcement immediately and notify your local fire department.

Source: Brian Humphrey
Firefighter/Specialist - Public Service Officer
Emergency Public Information (EPI) Center
Los Angeles Fire Department
"Serving with Courage, Integrity and Pride"
Brian Humphrey Status & Location:

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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