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Future Growth Potential Enhanced by Growth Opportunities in PPE Decontamination
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The North American firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE) market generated revenues of $830.7 million in 2019. The high firefighting PPE adoption in North America resulted from stringent National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) regulations and higher adoption of technologically advanced PPE. With the rise in a decontamination trend, manufacturers are increasingly developing firefighter PPE with enhanced washability features. Increasing wildland fires have propelled manufacturers to introduce products focusing on light weight and comfort for long-duration wear. The introduction of connected PPE is coupled with enhanced analytical capabilities to boost the growth of next-generation, technologically advanced PPE in the region.The US dominated the market in 2019 with an 83.9% ($697.2 million) revenue market share in the region. Canada’s firefighter PPE revenue was $133.5 million in 2019. Both the US and Canada have high penetration of voluntary firefighters, accounting for high acceptance of firefighter PPE at affordable prices.The self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) product segment is expected to have the highest technological innovation, with increasing adoption of telemetry, telecommunication, and global positioning systems (GPS). These add-on technologies are to improve performance and protect users from potential hazards. SCBA is expected to record the highest growth rate, at 2.9%, from 2019–2024.Turnout gear innovations focus on developing lightweight turnout gear and introducing hoods to protect firefighters from carcinogenic particles while providing increased protection from thermal (heat) and fire glare and improved cleanability.Among fire helmet categories, type A fire helmets are the most preferred because of the preference for traditional-style helmets. The type B jet-style helmet has a relatively low penetration rate. However, it is expected to witness higher adoption in the forecast period owing to better ergonomic fit, light weight, and better inherent protection of the neck. Leather fire helmets are still in use in North America. However, their adoption rate is much lower than technologically advanced composite helmets constructed from lightweight polymers and other plastics, as well as metal (including brass, nickel, and aluminum) helmets.Fire gloves commonly use polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), e.g., TeflonTM for moisture control because it repels water and is heat resistant. Fire gloves with nano-polymers, which enable touch screen usage, are expected to gain prominence in the future. Leather fire gloves with better friction grip and puncture resistance are growing in popularity. Although rubber fire gloves provide 100% washability, they are becoming less popular because of their lower moisture control and fire protection compared to leather fire gloves.In the fire boots category, leather fire boots inherently offer flexibility, resistance against chemicals, and superior cut protection compared to rubber boots, making them more acceptable than the latter. Lightweight, flexible, and military style fire boots are expected to drive future growth in this product segment.Notable acquisitions and mergers include 3M and MSA’s acquisitions of Scott Safety and Globe, respectively, in 2017.
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