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Differences Between Residential and Commercial Furniture Use in Fire Stations

April 04, 2024

Since opening our doors in 2015, FireStationFurniture.com has had experience working with every type of fire station: big or small, volunteer or career. From FDNY and LAFD to the smallest of volunteer departments. Many questions asked by our customers are about the differences between residential and commercial furniture use in fire stations.

FireStationFurniture.com Founder and President, Brandon Dunn, who is also Captain of Mebane NC Fire Department, answers these questions below.

Brandon’s “day job” for the last 15+ years has been in the furniture industry, and he’s held a volunteer position with Mebane NC for 20+ years. From furniture construction to its durability and finishes, Brandon’s experience means he’s uniquely knowledgeable about furniture needs for fire stations.

What is the biggest difference between residential and commercial furniture?

Without a doubt, residential furniture purchased at a local furniture store will not hold up to the multi-shift, 24x7 use that a fire station demands.

Think about the residential furniture you use in your own home. You may believe it gets used often and it holds up well, but the reality is that residential furniture is not in use while parents work, kids attend school and when the household is sleeping. If that furniture starts to show its age after 3 years in your own home, it will do so 3x faster in a firehouse setting where there are multiple shifts using it 24x7. And fire stations don’t have the budgets to replace furniture every year because of wear-out.

Why is durability so important when selecting furniture for a fire station?

Simply put, fire stations NEED quality furniture. Firefighters are not “gentle” by nature; we are generally rough on everything. This is not a bad thing, it just becomes our nature because of the job. We have to move quickly when an alarm sounds to do our job and save lives.

Durability can be found in many places, starting with the underlying frame of the furniture’s construction, like in products made with a solid wood or steel frame. The way fire station furniture is made by the manufacturer is key. It’s important to have a furniture vendor who knows how to source the most quality construction materials from suppliers and identify a quality manufacturing process when it comes to fire station furniture.

Is there anything beyond furniture construction that is important for decision-making?

Yes, absolutely. The furniture’s finishes and upholstery also need to be built for durability and intense use. This is VERY important for recliners. Finishes like hospitality-grade synthetic leather will hold up much better than bonded leather that will flake and peel with continuous use. Many residential furniture recliners use lower quality materials that simply not hold up in a fire station for very long.

For solid wood furniture, a lacquer-like finish that protects any wood surfaces for long-term use will serve a fire station better than furniture without it.

What about price? Will fire stations pay more for commercial furniture than residential?

When it comes to price, it’s better to think about the long-term budget than the immediate purchase. If you think about a 3-year or 5-year budget for a fire station running 24x7 shifts, are you going to want to replace furniture every 12-18 months? Probably not, nor will you have the budget to do so. So, a fire station may spend a little more money up front, but it costs less in the long run to buy better quality furniture that will last.

What makes FireStationFurniture.com unique compared to residential or commercial furniture vendors?

Beyond the sheer number of years that I’ve been in the furniture and fire station industries, our business model makes us unique. We can often offer more durable products at better prices than residential furniture stores. So, it’s a win-win.

The main difference is that furniture stores have greater overhead -- shipping to their warehouse, shipping to their stores, brick and mortar locations, sales staff, advertising, etc. Since FireStationFurniture.com ships directly from manufacturers to our customers, we are able to pass our savings along to fire stations in the form of lower pricing and/or higher quality, more durable products at more affordable prices.

At FireStationFurniture.com, we pride ourselves on carrying quality, durable firehouse furniture that meets the needs of departments large and small. Check out our product catalog to find durable fire station furniture for your department:

Recliners & Sofas | Bunk Room Furniture | Day Room Furniture | Dining Room Furniture | Office Furniture | Mattresses

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