PPE FOCUS February
New fire kit rolled out for Kent
A new high-performance PPE kit has been rolled out to over 30,000 firefighters across the country as a result of a collaborative framework led by Kent Fire and Rescue Service.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) took the lead role of a partnership involving 11 other fire services in the UK to source a modern and functional uniform that is accessible to crews from 24 authorities, with more expected to join.
The redesigned set, which is due to officially come into force from January 9, was specifically selected for its suitability for the various roles and activities faced by today’s firefighters.
Scott Pearce, KFRS’ PPE Manager, said: “When selecting the new PPE, we wanted to ensure the operational specifications were of an extremely high standard for crews.
“After a thorough consultation process, we chose garments which boast unique ergonomic performance features, excellent thermal and radiant heat protection, action pleats for added mobility and a moisture management system that helps to keep the wearer drier.”
Key features include:
- A lightweight XFlex structural coat and trousers with improved mobility and additional thermal protection.
- A redesigned fire hood with three breathable layers that will help to avoid overheating.
- A new Hi-Visrescue coat with Gore-Tex laminated lining.
- A layered approach set for operations that may require different protection levels and a potential change of role.
- Two sets of gloves, including a rescue pair with a reinforced secure-grip and a touch finger ability that allows the person to operate touch-sensitive screens.
- A comfortable helmet, with an integrated torch, that can withstand high mechanical loads and temperatures of more than 300 degrees.
There are also plans for extra lightweight urban search and rescue coat and trousers, designed for non-structural firefighting and maximum mobility in confined spaces. The trousers and coat can be zipped together to form a one-piece. The set comes with two pairs of boots, safety gloves and a MSA F3-Xtrem helmet.
To ensure every member of the crew benefits from a good fit, all of the garments are available in a wide range of sizes for both men and women.
The specifications and characteristics of the PPE were decided by a specially chosen technical team over a two-year selection process. The panel included representatives from other fire services involved in the project, as well as union officials.
Supplier launches stock styles for structural firefighting
Bristol Uniforms report on launching its first ever selection of stock styles for structural firefighting
Immediately available, the stock styles offer a more cost-effective solution than bespoke alternatives. Although ready-made, the PPE can be personalised by adding a heat-sealed patch to the back of each coat, a name to the front, and a name to each trouser.
A choice of two styles are available, both conforming to the European CEN standard EN469 Level 2, and featuring the most popular elements of the company’s existing top-quality ranges.
The Ergotech Action stock design includes an anti-wicking barrier on the cuffs and hems, underarm gussets and pleated back panel for improved ergonomics, knee reinforcement, and numerous pockets, loops, and rings for equipment. The kit is made up of a navy TITAN1220 outer, Gore Crosstech Fireblocker moisture barrier and a quilted aramid felt and viscose inner lining.
The XFlex stock design features elbow reinforcement, ergonomic 3D knee pads with reinforcement to make kneeling more comfortable, plus an adjustable waist band, a removable braces system and a knife pouch in the trouser. It is made up of a gold PBI Max outer, Gore Crosstech Airlock moisture barrier and an aramid viscose inner lining.
Bristol will soon unveil an additional Ergotech Action stock style that conforms to the NFPA standard 1971:2018 for Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting. The new style will be on display for the first time at the Intersec trade exhibition in Dubai in January. Similar to the CEN certified version, it features a Gore Crosstech moisture barrier and Hainsworth TITAN outer layer, but this time in Desert Tan.
UK fire service team competes down under for the first time
The UK was represented for the first time in one of the biggest fire service golf tournaments in the world, which took place at the end of last year in New Zealand
More than 250 golfers from the best teams in fire services across Australia and New Zealand competed in PBI 43rd Australasian Fire Brigades Golf Tournament held at Queenstown Golf Club.
The UK team was made up of six golfers from different fire and rescue services around the country: Mike Burnside, Staffordshire FRS; Martin Cleverly, Cornwall FRS; Nicol Meldrum, Scottish FRS; Neil Spratt, West Yorkshire FRS; Matt Thompson Nottinghamshire FRS; Paul Walker, Cornwall FRS. They took on a special Australasian team made up of the best of each team from Australia and New Zealand in a stableford competition and managed to secure victory after two days of very tough competition.
The team was hosted by the New Zealand Firefighters Golf Club at Queenstown, surrounded by majestic mountains and set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, which created an amazing background for the tournament.
The UK team was sponsored by PBI Performance Products, Bristol Uniforms, Hainsworth Technology, Supply+ and Stedfast, which the whole team would like to thank for their incredible support.
The Australasian team are hoping to redress the balance when they come to the UK later this year to play in the PBI Sheriff’s Cup, which is the most prestigious of the UK golf competitions and was inaugurated in 1961. The event will be hosted in May by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service at Gleneagles, and once again sponsored by PBI Performance Products. Both teams are looking forward to the rematch and the UK aims to send a team to compete in the 45th Australasian tournament in 2021 in Australia.
Comfort, mobility and protection for New South Wales firefighters
Safety Components report on Fire and Rescue New South Wales selecting Nomex® 360™ to protect their firefighters
A state government agency, Fire and Rescue New South Wales (FRNSW) is tasked to provide fire, rescue and hazmat services in the cities and towns across New South Wales, Australia.
As one of the world’s largest urban fire and rescue services with more than 6,700 firefighters and over 4,500 community fire unit members, FRNSW is also the busiest brigade in Australia. This type of activity requires personal protective garments made with fabrics featuring superior protection and performance. The answer? Nomex 360 by Safety Components.
Pac Fire Australia, a leading supplier of personal protective clothing and equipment, has won the FRNSW contract, partnering with UK company Bristol Uniforms which has designed and will manufacture the garments using Nomex 360 outershell fabric. Bristol Uniforms’ innovative designs are consistently chosen by firefighters around the world.
Nomex 360 by Safety Components is constructed to deliver the perfect balance of firefighter comfort, mobility and protection. Combining Safety Components’ patented Filament Twill Technology™ with DuPont’s best fibre innovation in an expertly crafted powerful and iconic design for unparalleled performance. The lighter weight of Nomex 360 allows firefighters to do more, more comfortably – providing maximum maneuverability without any compromise in protection while reducing heat stress.
Joey Underwood, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Safety Components, stated: “We are proud that FRNSW selected a Safety Components fabric. We support their long and proud history of protecting lives and property. At Safety Components, we are committed to leading the way in the design and manufacture of revolutionary personal protective fabrics for professional firefighters. Providing these fabrics to FRNSW is integral in driving our success now and in the future throughout the Australasia market as well as around the world.”
New firefighting kit for West Sussex firefighters
Firefighters in West Sussex are wearing brand new kit, supplied by Bristol Uniforms
The new firefighting kit for the county’s 500 uniformed fire service staff stays with the service’s traditional gold-coloured fire tunics and leggings, but the latest kit comes with several added improvements.
It now also includes a new lightweight and highly visible rescue jacket to wear at the scene of road traffic collisions and other non-fire incidents. The new jacket is a significant benefit in terms of improving the visibility of firefighters.
Other benefits include:
- Lightweight rescue gloves for use at non-fire incidents, with reinforced grip and touch sensitive fingertips
- A new helmet, designed to protect from heavy impacts and temperatures of more than 300°C
- A new fire hood made up of three breathable layers to help avoid firefighters overheating.
The new kit reflects the evolving role of the firefighter and was procured after listening to feedback from frontline staff. As well as offering enhanced protection, it is also lighter in weight.
The uniform will be standard across the region following a national collaborative procurement process.
Chief Fire Officer, Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, said: “Having high-performing fire kit is just as important as having good fire engines, breathing apparatus and rescue equipment.
“This latest generation of fire kit, or personal protective equipment as we call it, improves the safety and comfort of our firefighters at emergencies. I am really pleased to see this investment into our frontline staff to ensure they have the best fire kit to deal with whatever the day may throw at them.”
The new contract, with Bristol Uniforms, will cost just over £350,000 a year. The contract is a fully managed, ‘total care’ arrangement, meaning that it includes cleaning, maintenance and repair over the life of the contract.
The investment comes ahead of the arrival of several new fire engines ordered by the service, which are expected into operation from March 2020, representing a further investment in the service of £1.6million.
Fire suppliers form unique partnership
Firexo report on joining forces with Beeswift Limited, one of the leading personal protective equipment providers in the UK
Ground-breaking fire extinguishing company Firexo has partnered with Beeswift, one of the largest manufacturers and wholesale producers of PPE in the UK.
Beeswift began distributing the Firexo range in December as Firexo looks to build upon its successful first year of operations. Beeswift is already signed to more than 150 service providers in the UK while provisions of Firexo’s solution are being used by local fire services across England.
The agreement with Beeswift is a natural next step for Firexo. As the first and only liquid able to quickly extinguish all classes of fire (A, B, C, D, E, & F), the ground-breaking sachets and extinguishers are uniquely placed to become a major player in the protective equipment market. The partnership with Beeswift, as the major supplier for all PPE and safety requirements, will help facilitate Firexo’s mission of becoming a household name.
Beeswift’s ability to increase the visibility of Firexo’s range of products to markets around the world, through its enviable network of distributors, sales agents and international contracts is crucial for Firexo. As the solution works for any business, organisation, household or individual, Firexo is guided by a vision of empowering all people on fire safety. The product takes the confusion out of which extinguisher to use on which fire. Electrical, fuel, gas, oil, fat, metals and solid combustible material fires can all be put out with one single solution.
Firexo CEO, Dave Breith, said: “A clear vision of our roadmap for Firexo is to sign strategic wholesaler partnerships with big players in the protective clothing and equipment market. We could not be more pleased to have Beeswift as a partner in this area, as we look to capitalise on a very successful first year.
“The catalogue of safety products available at Beeswift is enviable and it is testament to Firexo’s unique capabilities of safeguarding both consumers and businesses alike against fire, that makes us an important part of their portfolio.”
Tyne and Wear supply smoke hoods
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is now carrying smoke hoods on all of its fire engines. The smoke hoods were one of the key recommendations within the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report
The hoods are designed to give those being rescued 15 minutes of protection from smoke filled buildings.
They provide members of the public with clean air in smoke filled environments, thereby aiding their escape and lessening their chances of succumbing to smoke inhalation. They will also help firefighters to rescue people from fires where the escape route is affected by a toxic atmosphere and can give the officer in charge of an incident further options to help carry out safe rescues.
The smoke hood, which can be opened and deployed quickly and easily, is worn over the head and has a tight seal that prevents any smoke from getting in. The air that is breathed in comes through the filter which will have removed the toxic gasses from the smoke providing safe air for 15 minutes.
Each frontline fire appliance will have two hoods and are accessible to the firefighters wearing breathing apparatus.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer, Chris Lowther, commented: “I believe the introduction of smoke hoods will further strengthen our rescue capabilities and support even greater community and firefighter safety. They are already in use by some other fire services, including Greater Manchester and London Fire Brigade who have already reported back positively on their effectiveness.
“We can use the smoke hoods to get someone out through a smoke-filled area and the hoods will allow us to rescue a number of people simultaneously. Their introduction will provide our firefighters with safer options when rescuing casualties in a smoke-filled atmosphere.”
Welsh firefighters supplied with new personal protection equipment
The three Fire and Rescue Services in Wales have announced Ballyclare as the new supplier of structural firefighting personal protection equipment to their firefighters
The Xenon model PPE, which is manufactured by Ballyclare, has been chosen following an extensive all Wales procurement exercise, undertaken by Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and follows a year of consultation with firefighters. The new PPE will be rolled out to firefighters in the Summer of 2020.
In a joint statement, the three chief fire officers for the fire and rescue services in Wales, said: “It is of the utmost importance that we provide our firefighters with the very highest standards of protection and we are delighted to say that this new PPE meets these criteria.
“The Ballyclare Xenon PPE has been tested rigorously by our firefighters, alongside PPE from competing manufacturers and this PPE scored the highest marks with our firefighters and within the wider stringent requirements of the all Wales procurement process.
“Pivotal to this project has been the successful collaboration of all three fire and rescue services in Wales and the willing involvement of our firefighters in this important process. We commend them on their contribution which has been undertaken with great professionalism and pride.
“The procurement of this state-of-the-art PPE is yet another step towards fire and rescue services in Wales realising their vision of becoming world leaders in emergency response and community safety.”
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