On April 27, 1983, when stamps were .20 cents and gas was only $1.25/gallon, Fire-Dex opened in Cleveland Ohio, under the name National Safety Apparel. Thirty years later, Fire-Dex is serving the international firefighter community as a top provider of head-to-toe turnout gear with continued expansion in the industry, including the development of a boot line. Their real mark came with the design and development of the FX-R custom turnout gear, now proven to deliver best-in-class comfort and safety like no other in the industry.
In the beginning, according to founding member Charlie Grossman, Fire-Dex manufactured only gloves. According to Grossman, the most pivotal point in the growth of their business happened later in 1984, when current Chairman Bill Burke was hired. “Our growth in the glove market just took off”, said Grossman.
Below is a short timeline of the various Fire-Dex products that have been introduced to the market over the past 30 years.
1984: Introduction of NFPA 1971 firefighter glove
1988: Morgan Protective Apparel becomes Fire-Dex
FIREfighter Gloves with Good DEXterity = FIRE-DEX
Production begins on NFPA 1971 bunker gear, NFPA 1976 ARFF gear, and 1999 ParaDex™ EMS gear.
1994: World’s largest single order for firefighter apparel: 19,000 coats in Brazil
1997: Fire-Dex headquarters was relocated to Medina, Ohio
2001: NFPA 1977 Wildland, Extrication Coverall and 2-piece
2005: Tech lab built in Medina
2008: Bill Burke acquires Fire-Dex from Charlie Grossman with assistance of BBH
2009: Bill Burke and Fire-Dex decided to enter the fire footwear market.
2010: First Fire-Dex boot order ships in Dec.
2013: Gear Tracker; NPFA 1851 Gear Management System released to public.
Fire-Dex will be celebrating the past 30 years of history with related blog posts throughout 2013.