Darley addresses key trends and challenges in fire and defense markets

January 3, 2024
Maui Wildfire

Insights into the US fire apparatus market from Darley

Paul Darley, in the January and February issue of ‘Inside Darley’, shared insights into the current trends in the fire apparatus market in the United States.

He noted that new orders in 2023 were approximately 10% lower than in 2022, aligning with their forecasts.

For 2024, a further decline of around 5% is anticipated, though figures are still expected to exceed pre-Covid levels.

This change in market dynamics is attributed in part to anticipated emission changes slated for 2026, which might encourage fire departments to update their equipment ahead of these modifications.

Top challenges facing the fire service

Darley’s publication also highlighted the principal challenges confronting the fire service sector, drawing on a summit conducted by the U.S. Fire Service in October 2023.

The top issues identified include the increasing interface with wildland areas and the associated rise in wildfires, attributed to climate change.

The transition to electric vehicles (EV) and associated fire risks, employee retention and recruitment challenges, cancer, mental health issues, legislative aspects, and the need for updated fire reporting systems are other significant areas of concern.

Defense sector trends and challenges

The defense sector faces challenges similar to the fire service, particularly in areas like recruitment, retention, and mental health.

A unique aspect for defense is the emphasis on maintaining a robust industrial base.

Darley has expressed a commitment to addressing these challenges, along with a focus on compliance processes.

Climate change as an overarching concern

Climate change has been recognized as a key factor influencing both the fire service and defense sectors.

Darley highlighted the Fifth National Climate Assessment Report by the US government, which provides insights into how climate change is shaping various industries, including the military, fire departments, and disaster management agencies.

FSJA Comment

Darley’s discussion underscores a changing landscape in fire and defense services, shaped by evolving market conditions, technological advancements, and environmental challenges.

The decline in fire apparatus orders reflects broader economic and policy shifts, while the focus on specific challenges like wildland fires and EV-related risks highlights the need for specialized equipment and strategies.

The emphasis on mental health and retention in both sectors points to an increasing recognition of the human element in these critical services.

As climate change continues to influence operational and strategic decisions, organizations like Darley play a pivotal role in guiding and equipping fire and defense personnel to effectively respond to these dynamic challenges.

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