Fire Buyer gets the chance to speak to Robert Pegg, Managing Director and Founder of Fire Trucks 4 Africa
Could you introduce yourself and what you do ?
I am the founder and Managing Director of Fire Trucks for Africa (Pty) Ltd. a company registered in South Africa. We sell new and used fire trucks, ambulances, specialised vehicles and related equipment to meet a customer’s requirements.
How did you start out in the industry ?
I started in the industry in 1995, when I was still Chief Fire Officer of the City of East London Fire and Rescue Brigade, South Africa. I could not get budget approval from the Council to purchase a new fire truck so I made enquiries in the UK and got approval to purchase a used ex UK Fire Brigade appliance. The Council were so impressed with the fire engine that we purchased a second one soon after. When other Fire Services in South Africa heard about it they also wanted to purchase, so I started the business along with a partner.
Why do African fire services require more support than any other service ?
Most African fire services are part of the local government services rendered to their communities. They do not get government financial assistance, which is a huge problem when rendering a 24 hour service. In South Africa we used to have a 2 shift system of 24 hours on, 24 hours off, with firemen doing duties as ambulancemen as well. New labour laws introduced resulted in a 4 shift system, same as in the UK, which had a huge effect on staff costs. The situation still exists today and with the economic environment in most African countries, as much support as possible is needed. I introduced a “Fire Service Levy” in East London which was a small amount added to the Council bill on every residential and business premises. This income prevented the closure of a fire station and the levy still exists today.
Fire engines are no easy product to ship, especially across Africa. How did you overcome this obstacle ?
I arrange shipment of the vehicles to the most suitable port in the country of destination. If the country is inland then I arrange the necessary transport, or the customer arranges collection and drives them to the destination.
What are some of the complications faced with supporting African fire services ?
African fire services have much different requirements…
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Editor, International Fire Buyer
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