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  • Unexpected Inspections

    In the past 3 months I have had 2 unannounced Inspectors, who claim to be with the Fire Marshalls Office- show up to examine our electrical room ( the room that houses all the alarm systems,back-flow testing area, and the electric meters for the entire commercial building ( consisting of 4 big box stores that are directly above us and then of course, ours. ) I have also had 3 different unannounced visits saying they are " Fire marshall, fire inspector, and today a whole gaggle of firemen ( about 10 of them) They wanted to see inside our building- OK hey, no problem better safe than sorry. But what gets me is they were saying oh, we need to have access to your buildings in case of an emergency... OK so I set them up with a code that will unlock the building for them.... then they say, oh, well the key we have doesnt open your office. We should have a key in case of an emergency otherwise we have to bust in the doors....OK.... I am having red flags popping up in my mind like crazy but its the fire dept. so I showed them where the emergency keybox is and how to access it. I feel very uncomfortable about this. I contacted our home office and they are discussing it right now trying to figure out if we need to change the emergency key box code now. THEN when I think they are leaving, they bring out crow bars and tools to try and "break in" to our building, just to see if it will work! UMM EXCUSE ME? I walked out to where they were and said Hey-You damage that door you bought it! I did not like them doing this, especially without clearing it with us first and out in broad daylight I have customers coming and going asking what are they doing, is there a fire? Why are they trying to pry the doors open? Can they do that? At what point do I draw the line and say OK you cant do that? Or am I over reacting here?
    You Laugh, I laugh. You cry, I cry. You take my coffee...may God have mercy on your soul....

  • #2
    Wow. Now I have the same gaggle of firefighters but we are required locally to have a key for every door to place in our Knox box in case of emergency. But that's to avoid the scenario with a crowbar, frankly.
    When I had all of my ducks in a row-I realized that most of them were not even mine!

    WA State

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    • #3
      Not over reacting at all. They got farther with you than they would with me. A visit from them should be set up in advance and cleared with the owner(s). Someone with them every step of the way. You said they claim to be Fire Marshals. What proof did they have of that? I would want to see I.D.'s for all of them and the vehicle(s) they show up in should be clearly marked. Our entrance and exit gate podiums have a lock box on the side that the fire department has keys for to access and lock open the gates. They want in the office and where I live then they better have me let them in or they can use their tools in an emergency.
      "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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      • #4
        Originally posted by pacnwstorage View Post
        Not over reacting at all. They got farther with you than they would with me. A visit from them should be set up in advance and cleared with the owner(s). Someone with them every step of the way. You said they claim to be Fire Marshals. What proof did they have of that? I would want to see I.D.'s for all of them and the vehicle(s) they show up in should be clearly marked. Our entrance and exit gate podiums have a lock box on the side that the fire department has keys for to access and lock open the gates. They want in the office and where I live then they better have me let them in or they can use their tools in an emergency.
        The first 2 had business card but they were in unmarked cars and were not wearing any type of uniform. The firemen showed up in actual firetrucks and were all in uniform so I didnt ask for their ID. The last 2 before the "gaggle" all had uniforms and marked cars with logos from their respective companies. I agree, I get the need for surprise inspections and all- but when it turns into surprise on the job training them how to break into our building in broad daylight thats where I had the bigger issue. Go practice on your own doors! Thank you for giving passers by an idea of what they will need to get those doors open!
        You Laugh, I laugh. You cry, I cry. You take my coffee...may God have mercy on your soul....

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        • #5
          Wow, that is crazy. I would've told them that now is not a great time but I'd be happy to help you setup an appointment through the ownership group!

          I would've then called the town Fire Marshall office and suggested the same thing as well as request whatever documentation they could provide that what they were requesting is required.

          It seems like there is too many ways this could go bad. I'm all for following procedures but in order to be a procedure it needs to be written down and approved somewhere...

          Matt

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          • #6
            I get an annual inspection from the fire department. While unannounced, it takes place in June or July. They are always wearing a t-shirt w/FD logo and cargo-type pants. They show up in either the actual fire truck, in which case some will have their actual helmets on, or a smaller pickup with FD logo and lights. While they do have a gate code, they have never once asked for any keys to anything on the property, or asked to get inside any buildings. I don't think in my 5 1/2 years here the fire marshall has ever been here, just the guys from the FD.
            Too many freaks, not enough circuses.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by KrisinNC View Post
              Wow. Now I have the same gaggle of firefighters but we are required locally to have a key for every door to place in our Knox box in case of emergency. But that's to avoid the scenario with a crowbar, frankly.
              Make them show you the law. They have tried that with me a few times. I politely tell them, they can bust down my door or windows in my 500 sq ft office anytime they need to. They tell you it's required when most of the time they just prefer it. Last fire marshal we had asked for ridiculous things and I simply told him maybe I would do some of them when I had the money to do so, but unless they are required by law, I'm not in any hurry to do so.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by letsgosonics View Post

                Make them show you the law. They have tried that with me a few times. I politely tell them, they can bust down my door or windows in my 500 sq ft office anytime they need to. They tell you it's required when most of the time they just prefer it. Last fire marshal we had asked for ridiculous things and I simply told him maybe I would do some of them when I had the money to do so, but unless they are required by law, I'm not in any hurry to do so.
                My son was a volunteer firefighter and he said if there was a full blown fire, it really depended where the Knox box was-if it wasn't close by they didn't go searching, they broke through to save as much as they could.
                When I had all of my ducks in a row-I realized that most of them were not even mine!

                WA State

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                • #9
                  Different places may have different rules regarding keys and access. My property has a knox box that local emergency services have access to and the key lets them in the front door. The gates have photocells on them and automatically open when emergency lights are on close by, so they have no issue getting into the property if they need to.

                  I've never had anyone show up for an inspection, outside of our remodel project. Anyone that shows up to look around, and my boss hasn't told me to expect them does not get into the property, no exceptions. I had a lady from the city or county (I forget which one) one time saying she was here for an inspection / interview of sorts. I believe it had something to do with taxes and assessment. She had a business card, but didn't schedule anything with corporate or call me ahead of time and she never made it past the office. I never heard from her again.
                  A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

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                  • #10
                    If your building is on fire the FD will not be fumbling for keys for any building, they're kicking in doors and getting the job done, period. You should have told him if the building is on fire and he needs a key to get in, he REALLY needs to think about getting into a different profession

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Grizz View Post
                      If your building is on fire the FD will not be fumbling for keys for any building, they're kicking in doors and getting the job done, period. You should have told him if the building is on fire and he needs a key to get in, he REALLY needs to think about getting into a different profession
                      Yeah, but if they are clearing a building (ie false alarm, light smoke etc) wouldn't you rather they could unlock doors and get their job done without damaging anything?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Steve_hajewski View Post

                        Yeah, but if they are clearing a building (ie false alarm, light smoke etc) wouldn't you rather they could unlock doors and get their job done without damaging anything?
                        How will they know its a false alarm if they don't check everything out?
                        As far as I know when an alarm goes off it only gives an address, it does not go into detail stating which area of the building is on fire

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                        • #13
                          I have a yearly fire inspection.
                          They always call to set the appointment first!
                          They have never asked for a key to my office!
                          They have a gate access code just for them.
                          But that's it!
                          Oh, and they have my personal phone number in case of any emergency!
                          Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.

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