Longevity in Business: Jefferson Fire & Safety provide the gear to keep first …

Have you ever wondered where first-responder agencies such as firefighters, emergency medical personnel and police officers obtain their equipment and gear?

In the Madison area, Jefferson Fire Safety is a source for everything from boots, protective clothing, fire hoses, pumps and even fire trucks and ambulances.

In addition to first responders, the company works with commercial and industrial businesses and the general public to sell and service professional safety equipment.

Pete Jefferson is the grandson of E.L. Jefferson, the company founder. “My grandfather worked for Fyr Fyter brand fire extinguishers as a distributor. He decided to start his own business in 1948,” he said.

When Pete’s father, Dave, joined the business, the name was changed to E.L. Jefferson Son. In 1969, the company was renamed Jefferson Fire Safety. Pete remembers working with his grandfather helping out at the business when he was young.

“We’re proud of our history. This is a unique business,” he said. “Every fire station has a memorabilia case, as the departments are steeply rich in history. I decided that we needed to have one here.”

In the front lobby of the office is a case filled with photos, fire safety equipment and other items. One photo shows E.L. and Dave Jefferson in front of a company truck from the 1950s.

Originally located in downtown Madison, the company has been headquartered in Middleton since 1992, and serves customers in Minnesota, northern Illinois and Wisconsin.

Pete’s son Tyler joined the company almost two years ago as a sales representative for the Milwaukee area. “He’s been around the business all of his life,” Pete said.

The staff of 23 employees includes several former fire chiefs and many current firefighters.

Last year, the company had more than $8 million in sales.

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Pete said the federal government provided a lot of funding for safety equipment, including thermal imaging cameras.

Jefferson Fire Safety sold several fire trucks in the aftermath of 9/11 and recently added ambulance sales to the roster.

The Longevity in Business feature appears on the third Tuesday of each month. The column features businesses that have celebrated at least 50 years in business. To suggest a business, contact Jill Carlson at jillcarlson1957@gmail.com.

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