Written by GESA (Global Emergency Services Action)
As Head Technical Coordinator and a Volunteer Firefighter with the Guayaquil Fire Department, Jesse Hunter is responsible for a wide variety of activities. Hunter started his career as a volunteer firefighter 17 years ago and now serves as Captain of a company of 56 firefighters. A few years after joining the department, Hunter earned a master’s degree in Fire Safety Engineering – enabling him to take on his role in the Technical Department, managing the purchase, maintenance and usage of emergency equipment. These varied experiences place him in a unique position to provide insight into the Global South equipment procurement pipeline – and how successful donations can lead to brand loyalty.
Although equipment donations are very much appreciated by practitioners in Ecuador, they can be tough to manage and often do not match what the departments need. ‘The donations we receive typically come from a single donor department in the United States that loads a shipping container over time with any equipment they no longer use. We do not know what we are receiving until the container has been filled and shipped to Guayaquil,’ explained Hunter. The usefulness of the equipment they receive in these containers can be a mixed bag, depending on the gaps the department has in their inventory, the available sizes of any donated PPE and compatibility with the equipment Guayaquil already owns.
And figuring out what can be put into circulation after the container arrives in country feels wasteful. ‘It would be more efficient and sustainable if Guayaquil could voice our needs as the container is being filled. If the department in the U.S. has equipment to donate that Guayaquil doesn’t need, perhaps they could send that equipment to a different Global South department that could truly make use of it.’
Hunter also described how effective donations can lead to a sustainable sales pipeline. ‘Guayaquil Fire Department has had a lot of American influence due to successful donations and training we have received from fire departments in the United States. Now that we have greater purchasing power, we choose to source equipment and vehicles directly from both European and American manufacturers, because those are the brands we have learned and saved lives with the most.’ Many Global South departments want greater visibility with and attention from manufacturers – and donations can be leveraged to create those enduring manufacturer-department relationships.
GESA (Global Emergency Services Action)
GESA is an international non-profit founded in 2020 by leader companies in the Emergency Services sector. GESA is a coalition of companies, consultants and practitioners working together to change the future of the global Emergency Services marketplace. We are currently developing our flagship platform – the GESA Equipment Exchange – a web-based tool that will connect Global South departments with manufacturers, consultants, trainers and suppliers to tie donations to a sustainable, longer-term pipeline of sales and service. For information, membership inquiries, and more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org