Total Fire Group Expands Family of Personal Protective Equipment With Acquisition of American Firewear Inc.

Dayton, OH-based Total Fire Group believes the acquisition makes them the largest producer worldwide in most if not all of their key product lines. Terms of the acquisition, between the two companies, were not disclosed.

Total Fire Group is a leading developer, manufacturer and distributor of a broad range of protective clothing, equipment, and allied products for first responders in a variety of emergency service fields. Included are clothing, helmets, hoods, gloves, footwear, "Kore Kooler" rehab chairs, and a state-of- the-art thermal imaging camera. American Firewear, based in Ohatchee, AL, manufactures a wide variety of complementary products, including gloves, hoods, equipment bags, wildland gear, extrication gear, jumpsuits and suspenders.

"The combination of American Firewear into Total Fire Group promises benefits, not only for our company, but for the dealers of the product lines, and, most importantly, our customers," explained Mary Grilliot, executive vice president of Total Fire Group. "Our expanded purchasing levels should enable us to better control raw material acquisition costs and, in turn, minimize price increases to our customers. Add to that the combined resources that now become available, and we anticipate even more efficient manufacturing levels at plants in both Ohatchee and Dayton, shortened delivery times, reinforced quality control standards, and a quickened pace of new product introductions."

"The entire American Firewear management team, including Ernie Paffumi and Bob Morgan, company co-founders and co-owners, will remain with the company," said Bill Grilliot, Total Fire Group president (and an active firefighter). "And, not only will the factory in Ohatchee continue to be the manufacturing site for American Firewear products," he emphasized, "but we will fold production of much of our Morning Pride brand of gloves, hoods, and bags into the manufacturing process there."

Paffumi, now the vice president and general manager of the American Firewear division of Total Fire Group, noted that "there will be no changes in the existing American Firewear product line, but we anticipate adding more proprietary and patented products to that line shortly. The American Firewear products, which have wide acceptance in this country and in regions globally, will continue to be operated as an independent line, and its dealers will continue to enjoy American Firewear dealership privileges, whether they are currently Total Fire Group customers or not. The sales management team at American Firewear, Don Rothman and Stephanie Finch, will also remain in place for uninterrupted and unchanged American Firewear dealer support."

Mary Grilliot summarized, "American Firewear will become another member of the Total Fire Group family, which includes some of the most respected brands in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - including Morning Pride, PRO- Warrington, Ranger, Servus, and others - and which means that it will be represented throughout the United States, Canada and internationally by one of the most extensive networks of experienced fire service/technical marketing professionals in place today."

"An important byproduct of this acquisition," Bob Morgan, now vice president of Total Fire Group-Ohatchee Manufacturing (also an active firefighter), indicated, "is the improved capability - gained from the glove and hood engineering experience of American Firewear combined with the turnout, helmet and boot engineering depth at Total Fire Group - to develop superior interface area designs, such as those required in CBRN-rated systems (e.g. 'Project HEROES' [Homeland Emergency Response Operational and Equipment Systems], a U.S. Department of Homeland Security-funded program, spearheaded by the International Association of Fire Fighters [IAFF]). The program is designed to provide firefighters improved chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear [CBRN] defense without sacrificing important thermal protection, comfort and functionality."

Total Fire Group is the manufacturing resource in the "Project HEROES" team assembled by the IAFF. Other participants include leading fire service organizations and major academic institutions - International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), International Personnel Protection, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), University of Arkansas, and University of Massachusetts.

Total Fire Group is a part of the Norcross Safety Products (NSP) family of companies. NSP is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of branded products in the personal protection equipment industry. They manufacture and market a full line of personal protective equipment for workers in the general industrial, fire service and utility/high voltage industries. NSP sells products under trusted, long-standing and well-recognized brand names, including North, Morning Pride, Ranger, Servus, PRO-Warrington and Salisbury. Their broad product offering includes, among other things, respiratory protection, protective footwear, hand protection, bunker gear and linemen equipment.

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