• Wednesday, Jun 19, 2019
  • Last Update : 04:57 pm

Fires spur local safety equipment business

  • Published at 04:20 pm April 3rd, 2019
Emergency fire exit
Sales of fire exit doors have increased amid recurrent fire incidents in the capital Bigstock

Most of these items are imported but at present two Bangladeshi companies have started manufacturing fire doors and are thinking of moving to other items considering their rising demands

Local entrepreneurs are considering more investment in manufacturing fire safety equipment, especially fire doors, cashing in on the increasing demand for the items amid repeated incidents of fire.

To ensure safe exit and alert people in case of any fire incident, fire resistant doors, hydrant, sprinklers, extinguishers, alarm systems, extinguisher balls are used.

Most of these items are imported but at present two Bangladeshi companies have started manufacturing fire doors and are thinking of moving to other items considering their rising demands.   

Growing safety concerns, caused by repeated major industrial disasters such as Tazreen Fashion fire, blaze in old the Dhaka chemical stores, fire at Tampaco Foils Limited in Tongi and most recently the FR Tower fire in Banani, have pushed the demands for fire safety equipment up.

The Dhaka Tribune, talked to suppliers of safety equipment and found two companies manufacturing fire resistant doors and accessories apart from imports.

Partex Furniture Industries Limited, a furniture manufacturer, made an investment of Tk100 crore in manufacturing fire doors in 2016 while Pran RFL Group went into production of the item last year.  

“Corporate companies are now concerned about protecting the lives of their employees and assets because of the recent fire incidents,” Sushil Chandra Ghosh, head of Partex Furniture Industries Limited, told the Dhaka Tribune.  

Safety compliance in the country’s apparel and textile sectors has also increased with the use of fire safety equipment, informs Sushil.

“Considering the demands, our company has moved to manufacture fire suppression equipment.  It is now producing fire protection doors and has witnessed a 30 to 35% annual growth,” he adds.

Partex is manufacturing fire rated doors, that are certified by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL), an American consulting organization.

“There is a huge opportunity to grow in the domestic market as industrialization is set to see robust growth in the years to come with the implementation of economic zones,” said Sushil.

Meanwhile, importers have also seen a rise in demands and they are expanding their suppliers’ connection in the global arena.

“People are now becoming more and more aware of fire risks and hazards. Foreign trades are also increasing, making mandatory the installation of fire safety equipment. Those who can afford are using safety measures,” Kamruzzaman Kamal, marketing director of PRAN-RFL Group, told the Dhaka Tribune.

As a result, he says, in ensuring compliance in the export-oriented industry and foreign trade, the demand for safety equipment is rapidly increasing.

Primarily, the PRAN RFL Group started to import safety equipment for its own use to ensure safe exits at its establishments in case of a fire.

Later, considering the growing demands it started the manufacturing process last year. “We are doing business with a UK-based company Life Co,” he adds.  

Better days ahead

Though, the demand was mostly driven by the apparel and textile sector, now it is spreading to the other sectors too.

Since Bangladesh is moving towards becoming a developing country, the country’s investment will see a sharp rise. In keeping with new establishments and industrialization, demands for safety equipment will see a further rise.

“Most of the products are import-dependent. It is a rapidly growing market here. The more the investment, the more the demands for fire safety equipment,” says Md Motaher Hoshan Khan, president of Electronics Safety and Security Association of Bangladesh.

“Our members are providing service mostly regarding installation of fire safety equipment while some of them are importing goods. But I think in the days to come there will be more opportunity for the local manufacturer of fire safety products,” he predicts.

Electronics Safety & Security Association of Bangladesh (ESSAB) is a non-profitable trade association, dedicated to representing, promoting and enhancing the growth and capacity building of  the fire-safety, life-safety, security and integrated systems industry.

Beyond the apparel sector, other export-oriented sectors and government projects are making mandatory use of safety equipment, which is opening up new opportunities.   

As of now, safety equipment is being installed mostly in the manufacturing industry. It is also being used in high-rise and residential buildings and corporate offices as the awareness about fire incidents has increased among people, Sushil states.

Partex Furniture has the capacity of producing 600 pieces a month but there is no stock as advance orders are there, he adds.

Meanwhile, the importers are also connecting more suppliers to meet the growing demands.

“In line with the local expertise and available technology, we are thinking of producing other safety equipment,” said Kamal.   

“We are increasing our capacity and connecting more suppliers from the global markets. In the past, we had only one supplier – Life Co but now we are working with multiple suppliers to meet the demands,” he assures.   

According to industry insiders, on an average about 5,000 pieces of fire doors are being imported a month, which was 10,000 during the 2015-17 as there is huge demand caused by the Accord and Alliance inspection in the apparel sector.