Essex Fire Engines for Malawi

In September 2010 we started a project with Richard Coates to supply Malawi with just 4 second life Fire Appliances and equipment. This project has slowly grown in vehicle numbers and giving us rewards, beyond our expectations, in the enthusiasm and the way Malawi is able to deal with Fire cover and community safety. This is a project we hope will continue to grow and develop for both parties.

Update April 2014

Although it may have been quiet for some time now this relationship with Malawi continues with discussions involving various parties for sponsorship and funding for the supply of at least another 2 desperately needed Fire engines, equipment and fire clothing for the people of Malawi.

Should you wish to be involved with this project please do not hesitate to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view discuss it further.

Update February 2012

Ex Essex County Fire & Rescue Service (ECFRS) vehicles have played a key part in the largest fire safety awareness campaign Malawi has ever seen.

Over 18,000 pupils and 130 teachers in Zomba city's primary schools have benefited from a Fire Safety campaign lead by Chief Fire Officer Loadius Sendaluzi of Zomba City Fire and Rescue Services

The awareness campaign covered

  • The role of Fire and rescue services in council
  • Common causes of fire in homes
  • What to do when fire break out
  • Emergency numbers for Fire services

DO Mark Samuels of ECFRS said: “This is why we spent a great deal of personal time and effort in arranging for these appliances to be sent."


Update January 2012

Another 2 Dennis Sabre Fire Appliances from Essex have now been shipped to serve the needs of Northern Malawi and the airport.

Along with the Vehicles there is another 20ft container with equipment and fire fighter clothing.

Update August 2011

The following clip shows the latest Essex County Fire & Rescue Dennis Sabre Fire Appliance that was dispatched in May 2011 being presented & demonstrated in Lilongwe city.


Update May 2011











The 5th vehicle (shown above) is now on its way with equipment and should find its way to station (just a parking space) by the end of the month.

The following photos show the first vehicles with the new fire crews.


Update March 2011

All the vehicles and the container have now arrived in Malawi after an eventful delayed journey. Just in time as the country's last operational Fire Appliance has now gone off the run. The 4 vehicles were all intended to stay in Blantyre, however the change in the country's need requires each vehicle to go to its own city. The 5th vehicle (destine for Lilongwe) is now ready for service and should go for shipping in the next few days.


September 2010

Four former Essex County Fire & Rescue (ECFRS) Fire Appliances are bound for Malawi after they were sold by the commercial arm of ECFRS (EFA Trading) and bought by a consortium who wants to assist with the rebuild of their Blantyre city Fire Service.

DCFO Adam Eckley handing over the Fire Appliance keys to Malawi High Commisioner










Deputy Chief Fire Officer & EFAT Chief Executive, Adam Eckley handing over of the keys to the Malawi High Commissioner, His Excellency Dr Francis Moto, for 4 Dennis Fire Appliances that we have sold to Malawi.

The Fire Appliances have been equipped thanks to donations from companies including

  • BP Wytch Exploration Farm Dorset

  • BP Chemicals Salt End Hull

  • BP Sullum Voe oil terminal Shetland Isles

  • Petroplus Refinery Essex

  • Angus Fire - Kidde UK

  • Water Jel Technologies

  • Human Race Ltd

  • Church’s Fire Security

The Appliances are being transported to the city of Blantyre by F. H. Bertling Ltd where they are due to be received by the country's president.

Discussions will continue for the supply of more Appliances to the Cities of Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu.

Steve Smith, EFA Trading said: “These Fire Appliances have served the people of Essex well; they will now have a second life and continue saving lives in Malawi for many years to come.”

In 1998 with the help of Essex Fire Brigade, BP shipped some second hand fire tunics to Malawi which BP distributed to the city fire brigades. There have been no other donations since that time.
Although Richard Coates retired from BP in 2006, BP Malawi have remained in contact and have been trying to raise the funds to obtain further second hand Fire Appliances. Only now have they secured a number of business partners to help them hence the departure of these first 4 vehicles.
Richard provides his time free of any cost to undertake any training required and he has worked in Malawi on 2 occasions for BP and the state of fire and emergency response equipment is truly appalling, that is why he will continue to assist in whatever capacity he can.

“A number of organisations and individuals have worked extremely hard to make sure that these Fire Appliances and all of the associated equipment gets to Blantyre where they will assist in creating a safer sustainable community.”

In the following photo is (left to right); Andreas Heinel (F.H. Bertling Ltd), Mercy Tahuna (PA to Malawi High Commissioner), David Wiley (Waterjel Europe LLP), Councilor Anthony Hedley (Essex Fire Authority Chairperson), Graham Smith (F.H. Bertling Ltd), Stephen Smith (EFA (Trading) Ltd)