Discovery launches Fire Force, a new private firefighting service, in Johannesburg

And now, something completely dystopian. Discovery has launched a new service in Johannesburg that is nothing more than a private firefighting service. Called Fire Force, the service works in conjunction with Advanced Emergency Management Services (Advanced EMS). Because where is Discovery going to store a fire truck?

It’s not something you sign up for. The medical insurer offers the service to Discovery Insure customers who live within a specific radius of Johannesburg. It doesn’t appear that eligible Assure customers need to do anything other than call the appropriate phone number in the event of a fire.

Quite the discovery, it is

“Immediate assistance makes all the difference when that accident you never thought you’d have actually happened. The new Fire Force offering is a true manifestation of Discovery’s core purpose of enhancing and protecting lives by keeping our customers and communities safe, said Anton Ossip, Head of Discovery Insure.

It is an indictment of South Africa’s current position that this announcement actually seems…rather helpful. After all, no one wants to depend on government service when their property is on fire. The goal, obviously, is to get someone to your home/car/whatever as quickly as possible. The company has a promotional advertising and all.

But this is also where it gets a bit dystopian. Imagine the scene. Your house is on fire. You gave up on a government-run solution because the trucks aren’t running anyway. So you call your insurer and ask him to move you. But… you are outside the coverage area. Or you missed your last bonuses and are no longer eligible. Or, worse, your request is denied because it’s considered a pre-existing conflagration.

Flame extinguished?

Still, in case you introduce Discovery to its firefighting skills, you’ll find that blue fire trucks will show up at the smoldering ruin of everything you owned. At least your neighbors will know you can afford to pay for Discovery every month. The trucks themselves are stationed at Rosebank and Midrand and are expected to handle most of Joburg’s fires. Turn them off, we mean. It turns out that they start quite well on their own.

“The safety of our customers and the communities in which they live is fundamental to the philosophy of Discovery Insure. However, implementing important fire prevention strategies at home and in your workplace is equally important,” said Hadley Shapiro, General Manager of Advanced EMS.