History

The origins of Hazard Systems date back to 1973 when Richard Ireland began an electronics company called Hazard Electronics in Johannesburg, South Africa. The company had originally manufactured electronic voltage regulators for alternators until a chance encounter with the South African police resulted in a contract to manufacture 2000 battery-powered strobe beacons. From this point the company grew, adding many associated warning products to the range, including lightbars and sirens.

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Hazard Electronics was jointly owned by Richard Ireland and Andy Burton, and employed about 40 people. In 1984 however Andy Burton decided to leave South Africa and the business was sold, although it still exists today. Richard Ireland then moved to Australia in 1987, formed Hazard Systems and in 1988 started manufacturing lightbars and sirens using tools he had retained from the sale of Hazard Electronics. An early milestone came in May 1989 when Ashdown Industries (a major Australian distributor) ordered 13 lightbars, one for each of their branches. Ashdowns still distribute for Hazard, although they now have far more than 13 branches and an order for 13 lightbars would now go un-noticed.

The major breakthrough however came in 1990 when Hazard Systems won the New South Wales Police sirens contract. The contract was jointly awarded with an existing supplier but Hazard soon took the entire contract due to superior quality, customer service and delivery performance. Hazard has remained the sole supplier of NSW Police sirens. During the 90’s the company expanded rapidly, both by acquisition and sales growth. Many new products were developed and the company won many awards, the most prestigious being the Australian “Exporter of the Year” in 2002. In the late 90’s Research and Development became a significant part of the business and the company transformed itself from a follower to a leader in warning system technology. The Siren & Light Integrated Controller (SLIC™) was a world first and Hazards LED message display board still out-performs all competitors.

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In 2000, the unique 20 series lightbar was developed and launched at Automechanika Frankfurt, this put Hazard firmly into the world market and further strengthened the export side of the business. Two years later at Automechanika 2002 contact was made with ECCO and negotiations were started to purchase both the 20 and 30 Series lightbar lines for exclusive distribution in North America.

It was then suggested by Richard Ireland that if ECCO liked the lightbar so much, why not simply buy the company! In November 2003 ECCO acquired 100% of Hazard Systems stock and immediately executed an integration plan that saw the implementation of new information technology and manufacturing engineering systems at Hazard as well as the cross trading of technologies, products and customers within the ECCO Group.

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In 2004 Hazard developed the 10 & 15 Series LED lightbars, products that have since attracted widespread acclaim throughout the world and positioned the company and ECCO Group clearly at the forefront of LED warning technology. Following up on this success with LED lightbars, during 2006/2007 Hazard has introduced various additional LED products inlcuding surface mount and grille/deck/dash directional LEDs as well as the LED Strip.