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  1. #1
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    Default Former firefighter starting a fire protection business... a licensing question.

    I'm an former firefighter with 4 years of experience, FF I&II, HazMat Operations, etc. and would like to get involved in fire extinguisher sales and services (monthly inspections). Eventually want to work my way into fire suppression systems, but one step at a time as I'll be doing this as a second job.

    I have contacted state (Missouri Department of Fire Safety), county, fire district and city clerks here in Missouri and none claim to have any special licenses or certifications required for fire extinguisher sales/maintenance. Is this pretty standard in other states, the only authority being NFPA 10, no special licensing needed to maintain/recharge/hydrostatic test these units? That seems hard to believe, am I missing something.

    Are fire extinguisher maintenance records part of your district's annual commercial property inspections? It seems either insurance companies or OSHA are the reason these commercial properties pay to have extinguishers serviced professionally, is my understanding correct?


  2. #2
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    Various authorities have requirements to have extinguishers inspected annually

    Suggest you just contact a fire extinguisher company near you and ask all the questions
    Just do not tell them you want to go into business

    Also suggest you work part time for one, so you can see what it is really like and learn


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    Last edited by fire49; 12-29-2012 at 12:03 AM.

  3. #3
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    Not sure how old this is


    Many states have already enacted legislation that requires the registration of fire equipment companies and certification of the technicians. Some states even provide some of the training. At this time, in most of Missouri, there is no regulation of fire equipment providers. Currently, companies licensed in border states can come into Missouri to sell, service, or install equipment and are not accountable to any political entity or licensing agency. There are approximately one hundred fire equipment distributors in Missouri and approximately another two hundred or so that work in Missouri from the above mentioned border states or from national companies. Regulation is the only responsible approach to assuring that Missouri's business constituents receive the proper fire extinguisher and fire suppression service.



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  4. #4
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    Wow fire49, thanks for that information. From what I can tell that is still the way it works today in Missouri and that is a little scary. Good idea on calling a fire protection company and getting a quote as a potential buyer. I'd love to get with a company part time to learn the ropes from them but that has been easier said than done thus far with work schedules.

    Thanks!

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    Trn,

    You are getting into very competitive business . Unless you have many contacts in the business side you may find yourself with a big investment and many hours of work to get your investment back. You will have to cut your $$ to get the customer and keep them. I see this from an insurance point of view inspecting may tags and seeing changes from year to year and who services the extinguishers. I have had more then one client tell me they can always find someone to service them and they get cold calls from companies looking for there business . Good luck in whatever you decide you do.
    Fire Sprinklers Save Firefighters’ Lives Too!

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    Thanks for the info InsuranceLCRep. Yes, I've seen that it is very competitive out there in this market and that can be viewed either way, both good or bad. On one hand, it is a service that is needed and awareness already exists (or is mandated)... on the other, competition drives prices down to meager wages for all involved. I have a few niche markets I am going to target that I think will give me a leg up, that and doing a bit better marketing online that anyone else in this area should help connect me initially at least.

    So you actually have to inspect these tags for commercial insurance every year as their agent/broker/underwriter (sorry, not sure which capacity you are serving there)? I suppose the main driving factor of businesses paying someone to inspect their extinguishers on a regular bases is because of their business insurance (or commercial fire inspection if that is in their local ordinances).

    Thanks,

    Tom

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    Tom

    I do not look at every tag but will spotcheck as I'm walking through the facility. Insurance companies have inspectors/loss control staff, that will visit commercial properties to determine if they are up to our underwriting standards. If the tags are not up to date I will make a "recommendation" to have them inspected. Most insurance companies will follow NFPA 10 for inspection and testing of fire extinguishers. The local fire officials will reference the international fire code which also references NFPA 10.
    Fire Sprinklers Save Firefighters’ Lives Too!

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    Perfect, thanks for your responses InsuranceLCRep and fire49... much appreciated.

    Tom

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by InsuranceLCRep View Post
    The local fire officials will reference the international fire code which also references NFPA 10.
    In the State of Pennsylvania, Municipalities can and do adopt the ICC Fire Code (or a version thereof, or some other one, perhaps a locally created fire code) however the ICC Fire Code is not adopted by the State.

    I do fire inspections/fire marshal/plan reviews/code enforcement and zoning in four municipalities- that have all adopted (through ordinance) the ICC Fire Code- which specifically adopts NFPA 10.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  10. #10
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    trn579s: I relocated to MO from Minnesota a couple years ago where I worked for several years as a fire extinguisher technician and fire system technician. I eventually started my own company there but grew so tired of the anti-business climate in MN I sold out. I work in Fire Inspections and Investigation now in MO, but I believe I can help you. I will try to turn on my private messaging so I can be reached. I am not sure what part of MO you are in, but I am in Rolla.

  11. #11
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    Thanks fireguyminn, I'll take you up on it! Private message sent.

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