COVID-19 Impact on the Fire Safety Business Continues into 2021
This stop-start cycle impacted the industry throughout the supply chain. A manufacturing backlog built up that even today has not caught up with demand.
The impact of COVID-19 has spared no business, family, or person. Since it first showed up in the United States in early 2020, the impact on the fire safety business has been significant. Last year, we saw major fire alarm manufacturers in the US and Mexico shut down production by over 75% due to government stay at home and quarantine orders. We also saw suppliers and fire contractors unable to work as they too waited out stay-at-home orders and new COVID safety protocols. This quickly brought the entire industry to a standstill for almost 6 months. By the late summer of 2020, manufacturing, suppliers, and contractors started to open back up though at often a limited capacity and with continued shutdown periods.
This stop-start cycle impacted the industry throughout the supply chain. A manufacturing backlog built up that even today has not caught up with demand. As a result, building owners and fire contractors are having a difficult time procuring fire system parts in a timely manner and often at a higher price. It has also pushed both new and refurbished fire system parts to demand from the manufactures to after-market suppliers who have stocked inventory ready to ship.
For 2021, we’ve seen the pent-up demand of 2020 start to come through. Demand, which is usually slow the first quarter of the year, has started off strong as projects once delayed now have the green light to move forward. While manufacturing is still playing catch-up, it’s expected that production delays should stay low as increased COVID-19 safety protocols are adopted and vaccination rates increase.
One of the biggest changes that we still expect to see in 2021 is the implementation of the new UL 217 Standard for Smoke Alarms, and the UL 268 Standard for Smoke Detectors for Fire Alarm Systems, which is still expected to take effect June 30th, 2021 (after being extended from May 29, 2020). With the current backlog in manufacturing, this can cause another layer of increased demand and price increases on parts that will no longer be produced and available from manufacturers. We recommend that you check your inventory and stock up on your system needs now before either the pricing goes up or your parts are no longer available.
With a start to a New Year, we wish you a healthy and successful 2021. Reach out to us with any questions or product requests. Also, to get the latest updates and what it may mean for you, your business, and your bottom line follow us on
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