Better Protection, a commercial fire protection provider servicing fire detection, alarm and suppression systems, has launched as a new company formed by the combination of Chicago-based Assurant Fire Protection, Complete Fire Pump Service and Xtreme Fire Protection.  

The three companies have been combined to establish Better Protection as a fire and life safety business in the Chicagoland area with a full range of installation, inspection and maintenance capabilities. Better Protection will leverage the combined scale, resources and technology of the three businesses to grow into a single source of service for its clients. 

Abry Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, announced it has completed a strategic growth investment in Better Protection. Abry is partnering with management to support the new company’s organic growth initiatives and to execute its targeted acquisition strategy. 

Matt Palas founded Assurant Fire Protection (AFP) in 2017, and acquired Complete Fire Pump Services (CFPS) in 2020. Palas will continue to be a part of the management team of Better Protection. Xtreme Fire Protection was started in 2008 by Jim O’Malley, who will continue to be a part of the Better Protection management team. 

Palas, president of AFP and CFPS, said, “This strategic alliance allows us to increase opportunities for our employees and forms a partnership with a private equity firm that embraces our core values and culture. I commend our employees for their devotion to great teamwork and for delivering a premium service to our customers. This is the perfect time to utilize the additional resources and significant synergies of the combined platform. I am confident that, with our executive team and the support of Abry Partners, we are building an elite organization for high quality partners and team members for years to come.” 

O’Malley, president of Xtreme Fire Protection, said, “With the brilliant help from my wife Mandy and the hard work from my son John, I was able to build Xtreme Fire Protection into the successful company it has become today. All of us at Xtreme Fire Protection are extremely excited about joining the Better Protection team. We feel that by merging with strategic companies in the fire protection industry we will be able to service our wonderful customers even better and have the ability to scale faster into other geographic areas of the country.” 

Better Protection will be led by chief executive officer, Don Mershon. He has more than 30 years of fire protection and life safety industry experience. Mershon previously founded, owned and operated Nexus Engineering. Nexus grew robustly over 27 years before merging with other companies to help form Jensen Hughes, a leading fire protection engineering company. 

“We are excited to bring together three terrific companies that are complementary in so many ways,” Mershon said. “The exciting part about this is that our clients now have a single point of service for all of their fire protection and life safety needs. Our employees have more opportunities to grow, cross-train and further develop their careers and professional acumen. Our highly driven management team is already supporting accelerated growth and enhancing customer relationships.”