Budget cuts compel manufacturers to offer high-quality, affordable PPE, finds Frost & Sullivan's Visionary Science team
SANTA CLARA, California, March 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Material and technology innovations in the firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE) segment have made it possible to manufacture lightweight and ergonomic PPE that offers comfort, performance and durability. Manufacturers are addressing the rising awareness of cancer risk among firefighters by bringing to the market new firefighter gear. Grants such as Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) are making provisions for funding extra sets of firefighter PPE. Fire departments are likely to stock extra sets of turnout gear and gloves, giving a fillip to volumes and revenues.
North American Firefighter Personal Protective Equipment Market, Forecast to 2020, part of Frost & Sullivan's Future of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Growth Partnership Subscription, expects that the market will grow from $756.3 million in 2015 to $858.8 million in 2020, driven by unit volume increases in the turnout gear and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) segments. Related studies from this subscription include construction PPE, respiratory protective equipment and industrial protective equipment. All studies in the subscription provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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"The search-and-rescue approach to firefighting in North America puts firefighters in close proximity to fires, which necessitates higher protection," said Frost & Sullivan Visionary Science Research Analyst Sanjana Prabhakar. "Firefighter PPE used in North America is heavier and more sophisticated than PPE used in other countries necessitating significant investments in R&D."
While spending on essentials is likely to remain unaffected in large, professionally run fire departments, smaller, rural fire departments are expected to face budget cuts. In response, PPE manufacturers are likely to do away with inessential trimmings while providing optimal thermal performance at low prices, without compromising on comfort.
"Thermal imaging technologies for budget-conscious users are likely to disrupt the industry going forward," noted Prabhakar. "Bluetooth, radio-frequency identification, near-field communication and long-range radios will be introduced as add-ons, enhancing the value to PPE."
Despite budget restrictions, the market for firefighter PPE is expected to grow steadily due to:
- A rise in the number of wildland fires; approximately a 556 percent increase over the 1970s and 1980s,
- The need to provide protection against toxins and carcinogens, and
- The untapped potential in the SCBA and turnout gear segments. SCBAs that were purchased post-9/11 are at the end of their replacement cycle; fire departments are also looking to equip firefighters with an extra set of turnout gear to lower the exposure to contaminated PPE.
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North American Firefighter Personal Protective Equipment Market, Forecast to 2020
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