MEDINA, Ohio – From a single pair of gloves to thousands of protective garments delivered to fire departments around the world, Fire-Dex has grown from small beginnings to become a leading provider of lifesaving gear. Now 40 years old and currently the country’s fastest-growing manufacturer of PPE for first responders, the company has consistently led through customer-driven product innovation and a focus on family that starts at the factory.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have a stellar team of associates and partners that have earned us a reputation for safety in the fire service industry,” says Bill Burke, Chairman and Owner of Fire-Dex. “Firefighters know what works and we’ve built our name on that confidence. There have been honors and awards along the way but still, nothing compares to having the respect of those we serve.”
A stitch in time
It was 1983 in Cleveland, Ohio, when Burke and a team of engineers envisioned a more flexible glove for firefighters who were frustrated by stiff, uncomfortable handwear. The new glove offered optimal strength but also superior mobility and comfort meaning wearers had much less trouble performing fine tasks. As sales soared, Burke dubbed the growing enterprise “Fire-Dex” for the “firefighting dexterity” the glove afforded wearers.
As Fire-Dex grew, its portfolio quickly expanded to encompass what is now head-to-toe protection for first responders. Being first-to-market with innovative products including the first ever particulate blocking fire hood and the revolutionary TECGEN71 outer shell has propelled Fire-Dex to new heights along the way while making its name synonymous with stronger protection against fire and harmful agents that are a constant threat in the line of duty.
Incorporating advanced materials in its designs has also kept the company top of mind among fire departments for decades—materials like lightweight TECGEN71 fabric combining the proven durability of DuPont™ Kevlar® and DuPont™ Nomex® with the unique benefits of the TECGEN fiber to lessen heat stress by reducing weight and increasing dexterity. With NFPA-certified options for fire and non-fire calls—including one of the widest selections of alternative PPE around—the company continues to operate with a mission “to serve those who serve.”
Cleaning and repairing protective apparel are also part of this mission that Gear Wash, a subsidiary of Fire-Dex, delivers on each day. As America’s largest Independent Service Provider network for PPE care and maintenance, Gear Wash extends the life of valuable garments by meeting NFPA 1851 standards for proper care. With 10 locations and more coming soon, Gear Wash helps protect firefighters by protecting their gear.
“Our pride comes from being part of the brotherhood and sisterhood of fire service professionals,” says Taylor Burke Gilman, President of Gear Wash. “The courage and fortitude of firefighters inspire us to care for and create the best gear to protect them on the job. We work hard to make sure that every day heroes have clean, quality gear when they go to work."
Focused on the future
Making it all possible is 478 Fire-Dex associates responsible for designing and manufacturing the company’s products that are used across the globe. With 176 additional Gear Wash associates helping to ensure that all types of PPE can stay clean and compliant with industry standards.
Fire-Dex is guided by a core philosophy of quality, service and family. By emphasizing synergy and collaboration between associates and partners, the company has worked as a unified team to deliver world-class products and customer support for four decades while building many long-lasting industry relationships.
“Marking 40 years of Fire-Dex is a reminder of the dedication and passion of many individuals who have shaped our brand,” says Burke. “I never tire of seeing the faces of our hardworking associates who are proud to make our gear, who know everything that’s on the line. Fire-Dex truly sets a high standard, and I am confident it will remain that way for many years to come.”
Fire-Dex will officially celebrate its 40th anniversary on April 27 with a customer appreciation party during the FDIC International conference in Indianapolis, followed by events and activities for associates throughout the year in recognition of this important milestone.
With the ultimate goal of keeping first responders protected and prepared for the job, Fire-Dex is relentless in its pursuit of excellence. Visit firedex.com to meet a team striving to continuously innovate and create the best performing products to meet the needs of the fire service industry.
Fire-Dex is the fastest-growing manufacturer of PPE for first responders and the world's largest Independent Service Provider (ISP) of PPE care and maintenance under its subsidiary, Gear Wash. Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Medina, Ohio, this global company prides itself on being a family business with a mission “to serve those who serve”. Its dedicated team of associates has helped pave the path of innovation for new products and services that focus on the health and safety of first responders by offering turnout gear, alternative PPE, boots, hoods, gloves, helmets, and PPE rentals. To learn more, visit www.firedex.com.