MSA Africa has teamed up with Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) Africa Fire Mission and High Pressure Systems (HPS) to donate essential firefighting equipment to Machakos County in Kenya.
The latest donation of an advanced, energy-efficient Bauer compressor to fill Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBAs) follows an original donation by MSA Pittsburgh of 400 refurbished SCBAs and fire helmets to Africa Fire Mission for distribution to under-equipped fire departments on the continent.
In 2015, MSA Africa representatives travelled with Africa Fire Mission to Kenya and Zambia to conduct training on the donated equipment. “We demonstrated to the end users the basic application and care of the equipment. MSA Pittsburgh refurbished the units at its own expense to ensure they were all in safe, good working order,” Tshepo Lebona, Product Manager, Portable Gas Detection, comments.
This initial trip was an eye-opener for the MSA Africa representatives in terms of understanding the difficulties experienced by under-privileged African countries in terms of firefighting services, mainly due to a lack of resources and infrastructure. “For example, they do not have access to essential, let alone premium, firefighting equipment. They do not even have compressors with which to fill SCBA systems,” Lebona reveals.
“Firefighters do an honourable job. They are everyday super heroes, putting their lives at risk for others. A particular challenge is the lack of essential protective gear, fire helmets, or breathing apparatus. Apart from the obvious danger of first-degree burns, the long-term effects of smoke inhalation can result in numerous respiratory illnesses,” Lebona adds.
MSA Africa continued punting the project actively upon her return to South Africa, which resulted in the Shell and BP, Sapref division in Durban donating a working Bauer compressor to the NPO with which to charge SCBA systems.
Bauer distributor HPS of Cape Town was tasked to refurbish the compressor, whereupon it decided to donate a newer model that was more energy-efficient and user-friendly, aimed specifically at firefighting applications where Africa Fire Mission was active.
In 2016, the MSA Africa team and Africa Fire Mission returned to Kenya to donate the compressor to Fire Chief David Machakos of Machakos County. “While we are up to date on the latest regulations pertaining to firefighting best practice, our main stumbling block is our lack of essential equipment,” Machakos comments.
Africa Fire Mission Director Dave Moore comments that the NPO is committed to boosting the capacity of fire departments across Africa. “We accomplish this through training, empowerment, support, and encouragement.”
Machakos concludes: “We extend our sincere appreciation to MSA Africa, HPS and Bauer, and Africa Fire Mission for coming to the rescue of the noble profession of firefighting in our county.” The Bauer compressor has now been deployed in daily firefighting operations.
MSA Africa has been the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality safety products since 1914. MSA products may be simple to use and maintain, they are also highly-sophisticated devices and protective gear – the result of countless R&D hours, relentless testing, and an unwavering commitment to quality that saves lives and protects thousands of men and women each and every day. Many of MSA’s most popular products integrate multiple combinations of electronics, mechanical systems, and advanced materials to ensure that users around the world remain protected in even the most hazardous of situations. MSA’s dedication to safety has been the key to its impressive year-over-year growth. In eight of the past ten years, MSA has achieved record growth numbers, with annual revenues of more than US$1 billion.