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Fire Suppression Equipment Requires Expert Care

The writer is the Fire Prevention Officer for the Eastchester Fire Department

In recent months it has come to the attention of the Fire Prevention Bureau that some fire suppression contractors who perform questionable work have begun operating within the Fire District including the Village of Bronxville.

In an effort to protect the Chamber members and to prevent fires the Eastchester Fire Department in cooperation with the Bronxville Building Department will be instituting a certification process for all contractors who inspect and maintain portable fire extinguishers, kitchen suppression systems, and perform commercial kitchen exhaust duct cleaning.

This certification requirement will become effective on January 1, 2012 and should accomplish the goals listed above, but in the meantime the following are some suggestions that the members of the Chamber can use to protect themselves and their businesses.

The maintenance of fire suppression equipment is the responsibility of the business owner, if a contractor states that they have a contract with the Eastchester Fire Department to perform any work, they should not be hired and the Fire Prevention Bureau should be contacted immediately.

Do not allow any contractor to perform any work without a prior appointment.  Most reputable contractors will call for an appointment not just appear and hope that you will allow them to provide the service.

Instruct your employees if a contractor is scheduled to perform any services, and in your absence only that contractor should be admitted to the business.

If a contractor provides an estimate that is drastically lower than previous contractors or suggests that expensive remedial work is necessary, always obtain at least one other estimate for the work.

Always obtain a written report from the contractor detailing the exact extent of the work performed.

The following is a summary of the frequency of required maintenance, if a contractor suggests to perform work at shorter intervals they should be asked for the reason for the deviation and the Fire Prevention Bureau can be contacted if any questions arise.

Portable fire extinguishers -- annually

Fire suppression systems -- semi-annually

Duct inspection and cleaning -- semi-annually/ quarterly

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