The State Fire Marshal has recently become aware of situations in several Nebraska communities where individuals are pretending to be a fire service or public safety representative.
These individuals have placed phone calls to restaurants and lodging businesses and telling them to take actions regarding or involving fire safety equipment and procedures.
In one instance a caller identified themselves as a member of the local fire department. The restaurant employee receiving the call was told that the fire alarm system had not been functioning properly and directed the employee to pull a fire alarm to reset the system. The individual receiving the call activated the only manual pull device they were aware of and discharged the kitchen hood extinguishment system. Failing to verify the legitimacy of the call, and not understanding fire safety systems resulted in a financial loss and a disruption of business.
Nebraska State Fire Marshal Jim Heine said, “Our mission is to create opportunity through more effective, more efficient, and customer focused State Government. In order to accomplish this mission agency staff operate in a much more professional manner than these callers.” Our inspection staff wear uniforms, carry agency credentials, and drive marked vehicles. You can expect direct contact from our staff along with a written directive on agency forms if required; not an unconfirmed phone call. It’s always a good policy to ask the individual for identification. You can also call the State Fire Marshal’s Agency at 402-471-2027 to confirm.
In non-emergency situations if you receive a phone call from an individual identifying himself or herself as a State Fire Marshal here are some steps to take to prevent identification fraud and unnecessary cost to your business.
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Attempt to get the phone number of the calling party from caller ID. Ask the caller for his or her name and have them meet you in person. Document and report any activity involving suspicious individuals identifying themselves as a fire marshal to local law enforcement and the State Fire Marshal’s Agency.