The history of FESSA

When the SA Government closed down the department in charge of testing and inspecting fire equipment, several customers asked Bob Short to start his own business. He did so and this year Fire & Emergency Services SA (FESSA) are celebrating 22 years in the business and doing better than ever.

Happy New Year! Not only is this the 22nd year of the millennium, it is also the 22nd year of FESSA operating. Today FESSA’s technicians service a staggering 2,793 sites throughout Metropolitan Adelaide , the Fleurieu peninsula, the Yorke peninsula, the Clare area and up into the Riverland and Murraylands. 22 years ago it was all very different.

Back then founder Bob Short was working in the department of the Metropolitan Fire Service maintaining fire equipment. His duties included looking after the maintenance and testing of fixed systems like fire alarms, sprinklers and fire pumps, but significant changes were about to happen as the SA Government decided to outsource work that was being provided by the private industry.

As a number of private companies already offered testing and inspecting of fire equipment, the government sold the client list to a private company and closed the Metropolitan Fire Service department down.

However, a number of the customers having so far being serviced by the Metropolitan Fire Service did not want to be serviced by a random private company – they wanted Bob Short!

They asked him to go out on his own, and he obliged. So in 2000 Bob Short left the Metropolitan Fire Service and established Fire & Emergency Services SA. Day 1, FESSA only had two customers, Loreto College and Bridgestone at Edwardstown.

One of Bob Short’s first actions was to hire Peter,  one of the service technicians Bob Short used to work with at the Metropolitan Fire Service. From there the two of them built the company over the coming six years until Bob Short’s son Alan took over as general manager, a position he still holds today.

Bridgestone at Edwardstown closed down 5 years ago and the factory was demolished. Peter is still servicing Loreta College and has been doing so for 21 years in spite of fierce competition.

– We have been through iterations and reviews of the service we provide and mostly come out on top. The business model the company has developed over the last 21 years is widely appreciated by our customers, with our standards being above most of our competitors’, managing director Alan Short says.

Today Fire & Emergency Services SA employs 20 staff, and service, as mentioned earlier, 2,793 sites throughout South Australia.

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