The Silicon Review
Fire-Dex LLC, headquartered in Medina, Ohio, is a leading manufacturer of head-to-toe protection for first responders, including turnout gear, rescue & wildland PPE, boots, hoods, gloves, and helmets. With a strong emphasis on health and safety, Fire-Dex has paved the path of innovation in the manufacturing of firefighting gear while focusing on the continuous improvement of its products and processes.
In 1983, Charlie Grossman purchased Morgan Protective Apparel in Rome, GA. At the time, they manufactured welding “greens” and leather gloves. A year later, structural firefighter gloves were added to production. The name Fire-Dex derived out of this new venture as FIRE retardant gloves with great DEXterity became the company’s staple.
Diving further into the Structural PPE industry, Fire-Dex began making fire hoods, suspenders, and gear bags in 1986, turnout gear in 1987, and boots in 2010. The company continued its growth acquiring two major brands, Chieftain and TECGEN, in 2008 and 2015, respectively.
The company broke ground on what is now its headquarters in Medina, Ohio in 1996. It has since undergone two expansions to accommodate its rapid growth; first in 2005, then again in 2018 (nearly doubling its size to 57,500 sq. ft.). For extra production space, it acquired Darwood Manufacturing, an 88,000 sqft facility in Pelham, GA in 2018.
In 2019, Burke’s daughters Taylor Burke Gilman and Lauren Burke DeVere joined the company making it a family-owned business.
Serving Those Who Serve
Fire-Dex is focused on finding the best solution and delivering better protection for firefighters. This wouldn’t be possible if it didn’t listen to the needs and feedback of its fellow firefighters. So, when research discovered that burns and smoke inhalation were no longer the most significant threat facing today’s firefighters, the company focused its energy on what was; heat stress and exposure to cancer-causing agents.
It developed TECGEN71, an outer shell for firefighter turnout gear that can withstand the heat but also yielded the lightest weight turnout gear ever seen in the history of this industry to address the heat stress concern. In addition, it manufactures alternative PPE to be used on non-fire related calls. The practice of wearing alternative PPE reduces the time firefighters spend in multi-layered structural fire gear, which is built specifically for the extreme elements of a fire.
Fire-Dex was also the first manufacturer to pave the way for a new generation of head and neck protection; particulate blocking hoods. These hoods act as a barrier against potentially harmful carcinogens, which are often present when chemically-treated carpets, paints and furniture are burned and can be harmful if absorbed into the firefighter’s skin.
Proud Producers of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Fire-Dex is proud that its message has resonated within the fire community, stimulating continued growth with the development of new life-saving technologies. The company is continuing to grow its award-winning team and further embracing its commitment to “serve those who serve”.
When manufacturing gear for firefighters, every detail matters. Each Fire-Dex employee understands the importance of engineering reliable gear that firefighters feel confident will withstand their job demands. Moreover, the company wants those firefighters to know they have an extended family at Fire-Dex, a company that is willing to help them navigate through the ever-changing and complex PPE industry.
Brand that Matters
Fire-Dex is one of the world’s most valuable brands, and to maintain the brand reputation it has, the company always strives for quality. It openly discusses industry issues with firefighters, takes their pain points into account, and stays ahead of the trends. Firefighters come to Fire-Dex for solutions to problems that have long plagued the industry and haven’t yet been addressed. Fire-Dex’s ongoing mission is to find and develop solutions for health and safety, so firefighters can continue safeguarding its communities for years to come.
Meet the Owner
Bill Burke, CEO: Bill Burke is the CEO and Owner of Fire-Dex. He originally joined the team as a Sales Representative in 1984, became VP of Sales & Marketing in 1989, President/Part Owner in 1997, and sole-owner in 2007. Bill went to Ohio University and the University of Akron for his undergraduate degree and received an MBA from Baldwin Wallace University.