If OIFR Visits Your Home, They Will Have I.D.

— from Marla Johns —

Orcas Island Fire and Rescue received a report from a local resident of concern this afternoon [Apr. 20, 2017]. The resident advised that a white vehicle came to their home and the vehicle occupants, two or more men, identified themselves as members of OIFR and stated they were verifying addresses with 911 records. The vehicle and its occupants DID NOT REPRESENT ORCAS ISLAND FIRE & RESCUE. The San Juan County Sheriff’s Department has been notified.

Orcas Island Fire & Rescue would like to advise the public that our department members do not go uninvited to residences. If a member is representing OIFR they will be in uniform, in a marked Orcas Fire vehicle, and have identification available.

Thank you to our community for alerting us to this situation. If you are approached by someone who identifies him or her self as an OIFR member and you have concerns, please contact us at 376-2331 or the Sheriff’s Department immediately (378-4151) and do not allow access to your home or property.

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If OIFR Visits Your Home, They Will Have I.D. — 3 Comments

  1. Though it is always prudent to be cautious of any suspicious circumstance, the amount of factual information presented in the reporting of this story lends itself to a degree of exaggeration or the likelihood of a misunderstanding of facts. The reporting does not pass the “smell test” of a factual circumstance and does nothing to provide a basis in facts to allow the general public an understanding of facts if there is a reason of true concern. In other words, it plays to peoples fears when no alarm is necessary and causes more harm than good.

  2. In opposition to Mr. Helminski, I suggest that when a person inquires for information from a householder, falsely using our Fire and Rescue service as a cover, the situation is pretty straightforward, obvious, and serious.

    The most likely reason for doing that is canvassing to find a house in which nobody is at home. The intent would be burglary. That’s a serious matter.

    Equally serious, and in the same vein, is receiving a series of phone calls in which, when a householder answers, nobody is on the other end. That, too, smacks of canvassing to find unoccupied homes. (By the way, we’ve had quite a few of those calls, recently.)

    “The reporting does not pass the ‘smell test’ of a factual circumstance”? I’d like Mr. Helminski to explain just how he drew that particular conclusion.

    I must add that I believe that Orcas Fire and Rescue does not normally come to one’s home, unless called by the householder or a neighbor to address an emergency situation.

  3. Mr. Henigson and I are essentially are making the same point. Anytime individuals are using the color of authority, or falsely representing themselves as a trusted public entity the situation is serious enough that a full explanation of exact known details should be required to keep the public alert and informed. The public would be better served if the known details such as: the location of the incident, how the individual(s) identified themselves as OIFR, age ranges of the individual(s), better vehicle description, police response and conclusions, etc. Obviously, the OIFR is not the criminal investigative agency in this matter and is correct to reiterate OIFR policy on door-to-door public contact but the situation does lend itself to several unanswered questions: Is this a misunderstanding, an isolated incident or a matter of collective public concern? Correct and instructive information keeps the public informed and our community safe.