Don’t Get Burned by Misleading Fire Extinguisher Maintenance Calls

Did you ever receive a call stating “This is the fire extinguisher company. We’d like to schedule your annual inspection. Would tomorrow be convenient?”

The office manager dutifully schedules this most critical life safety appointment.  After all, this is the welfare of the employees in case of fire.  The technician shows up, inspects the bottles, affixes new inspection tickets and submits the bill to you for payment.

Two months later another call is received for the same inspection. You say, “What? I just had them inspected. Please update your records,” not realizing this was a different fire extinguisher firm calling. And shortly thereafter, the building’s engineer escorts the landlord’s fire inspection company to your floor to perform the very task that you just paid to do.

It’s not unusual to hear of a single fire extinguisher having three annual inspections in a single year due to misleading phone calls from firms representing themselves as “your fire extinguisher company”.  Unsuspecting tenants are often taken by these scams because extinguishers are a safety concern and an easy way to be deceived.

To ensure you aren’t burned, follow these simple precautions:

  1. Check your lease. Extinguisher maintenance is often defined as landlord or tenant responsibility. If not, check with your landlord.
  2. If the landlord is responsible, instruct your staff to ignore calls from extinguisher companies.
  3. If it’s tenant responsibility, ensure you inspect the ticket affixed to the extinguisher and jot down your service company and the annual inspection due date. If you receive a generic call from “Your fire extinguisher company”, make sure you ask for the name of the firm and check the ticket before scheduling the inspection.

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