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.
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
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.
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.
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.