Businesses Pressured Into Purchasing Fire Extinguishers and Maintenance

March 17, 2014

Columbus, Georgia – March 14, 2014. The BBB has been notified that several businesses have been approached with a sales pitch that may have included some implied threats and pressure tactics. Businesses are told that they must have functioning fire extinguishers on premises that are regularly maintained, and that the lack can be punishable by a fine of $10,000. They are then asked to purchase the extinguishers and the maintenance service. While it is true that businesses must have fire extinguishers on premises and must regularly maintain them (and yes there is a fine), this particular sales pitch employs techniques that are at the very least ethically questionable and can even be perceived as extortion.

Here are some tips to ensure that your business is in compliance with fire safety laws:

  • To determine how many fire extinguishers your business must have on premises contact your local fire department as they have jurisdiction and will be happy to advise. There is no easy answer to this because much depends on the size of the building and on the occupancy type.
  • State of Georgia requires that those who install and maintain fire suppressing systems and/or maintain portable fire extinguishers must be licensed with the state. To find a licensed company go to State Fire Marshall’s website. This is also a great resource for all things fire safety to include rules and regulations.
  • State of Alabama Fire Marshall’s website is also a very good resource for codes and other info.
  • Occupational Safety & Fire Administration (OSHA) also has regulations that apply to the placement, use, maintenance, and testing of portable fire extinguishers provided for the use of employees. To ensure your business is in compliance with OSHA, click here.
  • If you are approached with a sales pitch, do not rush into the purchase. Check business out with the BBB. Get your local fire department’s input.



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