Area businesses and churches are cautioned against scammers posing as fire inspectors and demanding up-front payment for their services, said a Friday public service announcement from the county’s fire departments. In the past several weeks, business owners say they’ve received visits from individuals claiming to be with the fire department and ready to perform an inspection or survey.
County and city fire departments never ask for money in advance and do not send fire inspectors to businesses, said the announcement. Though it is required that stoves, fire extinguishers, exit lighting, and sprinkler systems receive regular maintenance, the fire departments never send contractors to businesses to do the work.
The fire departments advise that when owners service their equipment, they should verify the contractor’s California Contractor’s License and insurance. To check a contractor’s license, see the Contractor’s State License Board website: cslb.ca.gov. To work on a fire sprinkler system, a contractor must have a C-16 license. To fix a fire alarm system or to do electrical work, a C-10 license is required. Contractors who service fire extinguishers should have a license from the California State Fire Marshal.
In addition to searching the company’s name online, County Fire advises business owners to clarify with the contractor which services they are providing and at what price. They can also ask the contract to leave behind whichever defective parts they replace, read the fire departments’ announcement. Residents who think they’ve been approached by a fake fire inspector should call their fire agency:
Santa Barbara County: (805) 686-5061, firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Santa Barbara: (805) 564-5721, email@example.com
City of Lompoc: (805) 757-0709, firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Santa Maria: (805) 925-0951 x255, email@example.com
Montecito Fire Protection District: (805) 969-2537, firstname.lastname@example.org
Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District: (805) 684-4591, email@example.com