South Coast Fire and Safety remains committed to servicing our customers promptly, personally, and with integrity just the same as we did so many years ago. We began on a hope and prayer and grew in compassion over the years for our customers, their goals, and missions. We respect the challenges you face and will always remain your partner and a solutions provider to best ensure the safety of your employees and facilities.
Old fashioned service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the same commitment we made to you over thirty-three years ago.
(Click on each year to read the story!)
Les found his passion for emergency responders and safety departments while cutting his teeth at General Fire Extinguishers and Badger Powhatan. He worked primarily with refinery and chemical plant fire brigade chiefs and safety officers and enjoyed the people and the products he worked with so much that he became an instructor at the Texas A & M fire school for many years.
Les went to work for Houston Fire and Safety where he met his future business partner, Jim Pratt.
Les's desire to meet the expectations of customers and at all costs coupled with "corporate priorities" frustration prompted he and business partner Jim Pratt to launch "South Coast Fire & Safety" on June 1st 1987, with limited resources, few "name brand" products and zero customers. Armed with their first printed "Open for Business" announcements, Les and his wife Linda mailed them to every contact Les knew. They had 2 product lines to offer, Quaker Safety Products (a new bunker gear product) and Ranger boots. Fire brigades were changing from bunker coats and thigh high boots to 2-piece ensembles of coats and pants mandated by new NFPA guidelines. Les hopped into his old 1966 Ford pickup and with support from Quaker's representatives drove almost 40,000 miles in the next few months to get this new business off the ground.
South Coast needed financial support to kick start South Coast and reached out to several banks; however, none were interested in their optimistic business plans or forecasts. One day out of the blue a woman with Texas Commerce called to tell us they were looking at small companies to support. She arrived on our door step at the right time with a nice line of credit. There were some major fires in 1988, and our bunker gear business took off by leaps and bounds.
Les handles outside sales and marketing and Jim inside sales and finance, we began getting opportunities to secure more "name brand" product lines such as Bullard, Fire Dex, Topps Safety Apparel and Angus Fire. Angus was a well-recognized company with fire hose, firefighting foams, and hardware which our customers needed badly. To help with customer demand for support, John Cook joined our team. We purchased a fax machine and were well on our way.
Angus Fire introduced a much needed product to the US market and asked us to handle it for them- Alcoseal, a protein based multi-hazard foam. It was necessary to get a larger 3500 sw. ft. warehouse and the warehouse equipment needed to handle it. An additional inside salesperson was added to the team for additional support. Nomex FR clothing was introduced by Topps Safety Apparel and we began our FR clothing program with Fina Oil and Diamond Shamrock plus several plants in Carville, Louisiana and the Beaumont area. Les's son Gregg Townsend joined our company initially as inside sales support but quickly became a huge asset to our customers in outside sales. We became Task Force Tips first industrial distributor.
We were growing rapidly and expanded our office and warehouse space in Houston- where our corporate office is located today. Our FR clothing business grew by word of mouth and we invested in the equipment and personnel needed to provide in-house embellishments and customizations to FR uniforms for our customers.
As we entered the new century, we became a distributor for dozens of quality time tested brands important to our industrial customers safety- providing hazmat, rescue, fall protection, PPE and spill control plus the protective gear needed to get them home safely.
Jim retired and Les bought his shares to be a solely owned C-Corp. We added another 5,000 feet to the warehouse, kept adding quality product lines like 3M Scott Safety, Akron Brass, Bulwark, Fire Pro, MSA, Innotex and Haix. Our business continues to expand by word of mouth, reputation and referral thanks to our customers. Our business has grown to include several national managed FR & PPE programs with fortune 500 companies, hundreds of engineered firefighting water delivery systems and we remain grateful and focused to earn the trust our customers place in us every day. Les's daughter Jayme Townsend Cherry joined our team coming to us with years of experience in distribution with UPS, Belo Corporation and Hearst Media where she gained valuable sales management, marketing and technology experience to take our service to our customers to the next level.
We enjoyed record sales helping customers worldwide. We hope to continue to improve, and increase our value as a trusted solutions provider and partner to our customers in the decades to follow.
We operate under the belief that your satisfaction is our main priority and remain dedicated to responding to all of your inquiries quickly.
Our people are the best in the business and are dedicated to both you and your industry. From our experienced sales team who are in your area daily to those inside our facility who insure you receive the quality products you expect quickly, our staff is the foundation on which our service to you is guaranteed.
The products you need are responsible for saving lives and protecting property. Therefore, we offer proven products only from the most trusted companies known and respected for their innovation, quality and dependability.
We believe that the grit of hard-working people is the heart and soul of a company. At South Coast Fire & Safety, we are proud to call our dedicated team family and continuously build strength and lasting confidence in one another just the same as we do with you. You will always be able to speak to a human for support, whenever you need it.
On behalf of everyone at South Coast Fire and Safety, thank you for being our customer or for considering us as a new supplier. We value the trust you have or are considering placing in us and the safety products we provide every day. It is a pleasure helping you and it is because of you and the companies you work for that we are able to continue supporting our industry’s workforce every year. We are and will always remain very grateful for the opportunities you have provided to us, the feedback to help us improve and your continued support and loyalty.
South Coast Fire & Safety has come a long way in these last three decades. We look forward to what the future has in store for you, our industry, and our workforce. Thank you for letting us be a part of your business.
South Coast Fire & Safety is focused on providing "Old fashioned service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,'' just like we committed to you over 30 years ago. You continue to be the main influence on which our business decisions are made and the reason for our actions.
Browse our inventory of bunker gear, fire nozzles, fire-resistant (FR) clothing, personal protective equipment (PPE), fire monitors, and more. Choose from quality brands, including Akron Brass, Firequip, MSA/Cairns, Quaker Safety, 3MScott Safety, Task Force Tips, Ariat, Bulwark, Lapco, Workrite and more. We only represent brands that believe in quality and think as we do–the customer comes first.