Hot New Fire Markets Set to Ignite Profits

A quartet of industry experts exposes current and future trends in the fire/life-safety market. Enterprising security contractors looking for new areas in which to diversify will find plenty to be excited about in voice evacuation, sprinklers, personal emergency response systems and more. Life-safety systems are one of the most important investments a corporation or homeowner will make. Protecting a structure against theft is one thing, but saving people’s lives from a potential raging fire is another.

How important is fire detection in the United States? Important enough for fire departments nationwide in 2003 to respond to more than 1.5 million fire calls. Yet, nearly 4,000 civilians lost their lives due to fire. That equates to one fire death every 134 minutes, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) of Quincy, Mass.

Because society has become so intensely conscious of fire safety during the past 20 years, the potential monetary gains associated with implementing life-safety systems has been quite good. Like any market, it pays to stay one step ahead of the curve and knowing what lies ahead is important to dealers who intend to be around until retirement.

In order to spot current and future trends in life-safety, Security Sales & Integration asked four industry professionals what the future has in store. They are Keith Ladd, president of The Protection Bureau of Exton, Pa.; David Bitton, COO with Supreme Security Systems in Union, N.J.; Ray Dotts, alarm department manager with TVA Fire and Life Safety of Farmington Hills, Mich.; and Nick Markowitz, owner of Markowitz Electric Protection of Verona, Pa.

Opportunities Growing in Public Schools and Church Buildings

“Schools are a major opportunity. With the growth in school-age population, there are a lot of schools being built and/or remodeled. It’s a large market with major opportunities,” Ladd says. “Churches and places of religious worship as well as congregations are growing again with lots of new church buildings being build.”

Many school systems across the nation are looking at either major capital improvements or building new facilities.

“Schools are a growing benefit and will become an even larger market for the life-safety specialist,” continues Ladd. “If you can get your products specified, that reduces competition.”

Schools are aging, as many of the existing buildings were built when the baby boomer generation passed through public education. There is no accommodation for high-speed communication. Local school systems are working to fix the problem in a variety of ways.

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