There are number of America-based companies at Interschutz 2015. Companies that exhibit at the show do so for a variety of reasons. This year Fire-Dex introduced a new garment specifically for the European market. “Fire-Dex, at Interschutz 2015, is introducing for the first time an EN469-certified garment,” Fire-Dex has been manufacturing NFPA 1971 apparel products. This is our first year specifically making EN-certified garments. So in the booth, we are showing two versions of that new garment that is currently under testing.”
Fire-Dex joins many United States companies that have adopted a global strategy. Operating globally includes selling product but also in manufacturing locations. “Although Fire-Dex is a privately held, Modina, Ohio, company, and our primary facility for most of the pants that we make is in Ohio, we acquired a competitor in 2007,” says Rom. “They had a sewing production facility in mexico. We continue to operate that facility using Fire-Dex materials, Fire-Dex patterns, Fire-Dex NFPA 1971 licenses, but with assembly in Mexico.
“Outside the U.S., we’ve had a couple of very large sales in the last couple of years,” he continues. “600 sets to Jamaica, 900 sets to Nigeria, and 1,200 sets to Peru. Unlike the United States, a lot of these countries only have one or two fire brigades that cover the entire country. Instead of doing business with cities, municipalities, and townships like we do in the U.S., we’re doing business with the country of Peru, what we would call the State Department in the United States, so very large, singular purchases do occur outside the country.”
That type of global presence is why this international show is important to Fire-Dex. “Interschutz is important to Fire-Dex for a couple of reasons. One, introducing this new EN-certified product for the European market. Second, Fire-Dex for years had been selling very well in Central and South America and also in the Middle East. Those are traditional Fire-Dex products made in Ohio. Like the U.S., a lot of safety engineers in Central and South America and the Middle East really enjoy the NFPA standard of excellence for us. A lot of those Middle East petrochemical facilities are run by U.S.-trained safety engineers and they make it real simple: ‘Our entire petrochemical facility in the Middle East or South America or the Caribbean will be protected by NFPA-compliant products and services.’ We may not necessarily sell to the fire department in Abu Dhabi, but we definitely sell to both military bases and the industrial complexes in those areas.”