Fire-protection solicitors not with city department
Question: Two people in blue embroidered uniforms with laminated badges were going door to door in our Hawaii Kai neighborhood saying they were promoting fire safety and were doing free checks of extinguishers and fire alarms inside the home.
Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser!
You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription.
Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story.
Question: Two people in blue embroidered uniforms with laminated badges were going door to door in our Hawaii Kai neighborhood saying they were promoting fire safety and were doing free checks of extinguishers and fire alarms inside the home. Of course, I did not let them in. The next day I received a call as well from someone trying to set up an appointment and when refused was promptly hung up on. Who are these people?
Answer: Besides your email, Kokua Line received phone calls from other readers asking about the same or similar door-to-door crews in different Oahu neighborhoods. One caller wondered whether they were affiliated with the Honolulu Fire Department.
The answer to that question is no, said Fire Capt. David Jenkins, an HFD spokesman who explained how the department’s residential fire-safety program works:
“The HFD wants citizens to know that it has not authorized anyone to implement or solicit installation of smoke alarms or any other fire protection service on behalf of the HFD. The HFD provides smoke alarms through the Smoke Alarms for Everyone program (SAFE), a free service that installs smoke alarms in local residents’ homes. However, residents sign up for their free smoke alarm at community events where they can speak with HFD firefighters. The HFD does not conduct a phone campaign to solicit participation for SAFE or any other program. HFD personnel who install smoke alarms in homes will always be in uniform with proper identification.”
We also checked with the Honolulu Police Department, which had no information about the solicitors and had received no complaints about them. Spokeswoman Sarah Yoro did offer this advice, though: “If this occurs and you are suspicious, do not let the individuals into your home. Please call 911 and a uniformed officer will respond.”
Q: Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard visited the protest site in North Dakota as a veteran in support of the protest against the pipeline by Native Americans. How were her trip and expenses financed? Was this part of Gabbard’s duties and responsibilities representing Hawaii? If not, I hope she did not use funds earmarked to her (our) office.
A: “The congresswoman used her own, personal funds — no congressional, taxpayer or campaign moneys were used,” said Erika Tsuji, Gabbard’s state communications director.
Gabbard, a Democrat who represents Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes the neighbor islands and rural and suburban Oahu, was among veterans from across the country who joined Native Americans and others at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation seeking to block construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, an underground crude-oil pipeline opponents say threatens the reservation’s water supply and sacred sites.
Gabbard arrived Dec. 3 (a Saturday) and returned to Washington in time for the week’s work in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a news release from her office. She was at Standing Rock on Dec. 4 when the Army Corps of Engineers’ announced it would deny a federal easement needed for construction to proceed as envisioned; alternative routes are being considered. Gabbard hailed that decision and emphasized environmental protection. “Water is life; we cannot survive without it. Whether it’s the threat to essential water sources in this region, lead contamination in Flint, Mich., the potential threat posed to our water by the Red Hill fuel storage facility on Oahu, or the many other threats to our water across our nation, we must act now to protect our precious water for current and future generations to come,” she said in a statement from Standing Rock.
Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email email@example.com.