LambertEdwards Sees ER Growth

October 31, 2003
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GRAND RAPIDS — Lambert, Edwards & Associates Inc. announced that it recently published an overview of the nation's $3 billion fire and emergency-rescue industry and the dynamics driving its growth.

The Grand Rapids-based firm — which specializes in public and investor relations with small- and mid-cap private and public companies — said the report examined the demographic, economic and industry factors that are expected to drive growth in the emergency response market over the next decade.

The firm’s managing principal, Jeff Lambert, said the report discloses a “convergence of factors that should drive steady, long-term growth in the fire and emergency/rescue industry.”

Lambert, who co-authored the report, said, “These drivers are not only benefiting our nation’s emergency services and preparedness, but will also create considerable new opportunities for several publicly traded companies that provide services and manufacture vehicles, equipment and prevention products for the industry.”

Listed first among the drivers, he said, is increased federal funding. He said that through its Federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will provide more than $1.3 billion in funding for local fire departments by the end of this year, with another $500 million proposed for 2004.

As if to buttress his words, Congressman Peter Hoekstra recently announced $355,000 in grants from the program to the fire department of the city of Cadillac and to fire-fighting units in seven smaller municipalities in his district.

Other drivers in the market, according to the Lambert-Edwards report, are:

  • Aging fleets — About 40 percent of the nation’s 27,000 fire districts operate fire trucks and other emergency vehicles of 1960s and 1970s vintage. Too, the report indicated that the National Fire Protection Association is working on a proposal that would require fire trucks older than 24 years to be upgraded or replaced. 

  • Sprawl — Population growth in suburban and rural areas is driving the need for more emergency response vehicles, including vehicles specialized for numerous types of residential and industrial plus wildfires.

  • Homeland Security — Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, communities have become increasingly aware of the need to properly train and equip emergency response personnel.

In addition to industry trends, the Lambert-Edwards report identifies 15 public companies that provide products and services to the industry, three of them represented by the investor relations firm:

  • Spartan Motors Inc., based in Charlotte, Mich., which manufactures fire trucks, ambulances and chassis for emergency response vehicles.

  • Universal Security Instruments Inc. (AMEX: UUU), one of the fastest growing firms in the $450 million domestic smoke-alarm market.

  • Wolverine World Wide Inc. (NYSE: WWW), a leading marketer and manufacturer of branded footwear, including combat boots and tactical footwear for police, EMTs and firefighters.

The report is available on Lambert-Edwards’ Web site, www.lambert-edwards.com. Free copies are available by calling (616) 233-0500, or e-mailing mail@lambert-edwards.com    

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