By Jennifer Farnsworth
Fred Whipple knows fire safety. From his family’s history with the Saratoga Springs Fire Department, to building his own career, he has been a part of the fire safety field for his entire life.
Now, the retired firefighter is bringing his knowledge to his own business, Saratoga Fire Extinguisher.
He said after retiring he wanted to still utilize his expertise via fire extinguisher sales and service. He specializes in portable fire extinguishers, emergency lighting and other safety products for business and residential customers.
“I wanted to start this business to provide a service that is lacking locally. There are a few companies out there but none that are from Saratoga Springs,” said Whipple.
He said state and local laws govern all public places and businesses in regard to fire extinguishers, and those extinguishers need to be serviced and inspected yearly by a trained professional company.
“A lot of business owners are very busy with everything, so we try to ease their mind about it and provide a quality, affordable service from a local small business. We do all aspects of fire extinguisher service—inspection and maintenance—and complete it in a timely manner,” said Whipple.
The company is owned and operated by Whipple. His wife Karen helps out with scheduling, bookkeeping and planning.
“She also accompanies me on most of service calls and assists with just about everything,” he said.
Whipple said business has been growing at a steady pace.
“The hardest part is getting the word out so we have been mailing cards and using social media. We have a Facebook page and a website. Our ultimate goal is to give people a choice to call on a local company and to provide a very important service at a fair price,” he said.
Whipple said although homeowners are not governed by the state, as far as compliance issues, he said it is import for people to have a plan in place in case of a fire.
“People need to remember that the first line of defense in the event of a small fire is your hand-held portable fire extinguisher. The U.S. Fire Administration statistics state over 50 percent of residential fires start in the kitchen and in my line I have found that most people I talk to don’t own an extinguisher. Some that do don’t know where they are located or if they are in good working condition,” said Whipple.
A fifth generation Saratogian, Whipple started working at the Saratoga Springs Fire department in 1987. He was promoted to rank of lieutenant in 1998 and retired in 2010.
In coordination with fire safety month, Whipple’s business will be have a display at the NBT Bank at 295 Broadway in Saratoga Springs during October. People can contact Whipple at saratogafireextinguisher.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.