- Department of Fire Services
Media Contact for New Penalties in the Fire Code Take Effect Today for Performing Work with a Suspended or Revoked License, without a Valid License, or for Letting Someone Else Use Your License
Jennifer Mieth, Public Information Officer
STOW — State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey announced that new penalties take effect today for performing work that requires a license after it has been suspended or revoked, and for unlicensed individuals who falsely represent themselves as licensed to perform work regulated by the State Fire Code. Additional changes hold companies responsible for knowingly allowing their employees to falsely represent themselves as valid license holders. The types of licenses affected include commercial hood cleaning, fireworks, special effects, blasting, explosives and fire suppression, among others.
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “This puts real teeth into the regulations and allows us to hold accountable people who do work after their license has been suspended or revoked or who choose to loan or sell their license out to others. It also allows us to hold employers accountable who knowingly permit their workers to do work they are not licensed to do or worse yet, falsely represent themselves as valid license holders.”
The fire service has seen a dramatic increase in people doing work in these trades without a license, after their license was suspended, or allowing unlicensed people to use a legitimate license, often for money. The new penalty for doing work without a valid license or after a suspension is a minimum 3-year suspension. The new penalty for “loaning” or “selling” a license is permanent revocation of any and all licenses issued by the State Fire Marshal. The penalty for using someone else’s license is a permanent ban on applying for any license issued by the State Fire Marshal.
In many instances, the work performed by these unlicensed individuals is putting the public at risk as it falls well below the level of proficiency required by the State Fire Code.
In many cases, the people who perform work such as hood cleaning are low-wage workers doing what their employers tell them to do. The new penalties for companies who knowingly allow workers to use another’s license is a minimum 3-year suspension of their certificate of registration (which is the company’s license to do business). For the first time, these new penalties place the onus on companies to police their employees’ work. Any company that allows an employee to do work in violation of any provision of the State Fire Code may have their certificate of registration revoked or suspended.
The Department of Fire Services has found that individuals who “loan” their licenses out often claim that their service tags or labels have been lost or stolen when code compliance officers discover substandard work attributed to their license. The Fire Code now requires individuals and companies to report the loss or theft of their service tags or labels, or the presumption will be that they allowed the use of their tags and labels by others. Failure to report the loss or theft is a 2-year suspension of their license.
To read about specific changes to the State Fire Code, read an advisory from the State Fire Marshal to local fire chiefs.
The Department of Fire Services, through the Fire Safety Division, issues permits and licenses to individuals and companies engaged in many trades to ensure fire safety. The agency also enforces the State Fire Code and the State Electrical Code. Fire officials and regulated industry with questions can contact the Fire Safety Division at (978) 567-3375.