City of Oakland Responds to Incident re: Firefighter Reported to Police while Conducting Inspections

Date Posted: June 25th, 2018 @ 12:00 AM
Last Updated: October 23rd, 2018 @ 4:54 PM

News from: Oakland Fire Department
June 25, 2018

Oakland, CA — Fire prevention is an essential function of the Oakland Fire Department (OFD). The core of our fire prevention efforts is the inspection of privately owned properties within the City of Oakland. The California Fire Code (Chapter 15.12 of the Oakland Municipal Code) authorizes OFD personnel to inspect properties to determine if they are in violation of, or compliant with, requirements.

Recently, an on-duty sworn OFD member was questioned while conducting annual vegetation management inspections in the Oakland Hills.

Of this incident, the Fire Chief Darin White said, “The member was questioned despite being lawfully there, announcing his presence, and complying with requests that he provide identification to prove that he was an OFD member. I do not wish to speculate on why this occurred, but I know that we will follow the example set by this member, demonstrating professionalism, courtesy, and respect during our interactions with community members.”

City Administrator Sabrina Landreth sent an email to all City employees today reminding them that they are entitled to a workplace free of discrimination, harassment, hostility, retaliation, or threats from anyone, including a member of the public; it also outlined the steps employees should take to report these incidents.

“Recent events in Oakland and around the country demonstrate that implicit bias and overt racism persist and cause great harm to our communities of color,” City Administrator Landreth said. “Now more than ever we need to treat each other with kindness, dignity, and respect; stand up for injustice; speak out for what’s right; and support each other and our community.”

Inspection Notices and Resident Contact while Conducting an Inspection

Prior to conducting a vegetation inspection, OFD sends an annual notice to property owners (attached) that their property will be inspected. In addition, this notice provides information on what is required under the Fire Code.

OFD personnel conduct inspections while in uniform, and members will always attempt to speak with the resident (i.e., ring the door bell and knock on the front door) before accessing the yard areas of the property and performing the inspection. Residents should understand that vegetation inspections may proceed with or without the owner being present.

If the resident has any questions regarding their inspection, they should direct them to the fire station and company officer assigned to the inspection conducted. If a resident has a complaint regarding the conduct of OFD personnel, or questions/concerns about OFD procedures, they can send their questions and/or concerns to the Assistant Fire Marshal, Sworn at 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 3341, Oakland, CA 94612, or call (510) 238-6559.

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Media Contact

Angela Robinson Piñon


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