Setting the standard in firefighting protection

Gore reports on leading the innovation of new technologies for firefighter protection since revolutionising firefighting garments in 1979 with the introduction of the first durably waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX fabric in structural fire suits

Gore’s most recent innovation, the revolutionary GORE® PARALLON® System, reduces the risk of burn injuries and heat stress in both wet and dry conditions

The company established for the first time the concept that firefighters could be dry from the outside and comfortable on the inside as the moisture barrier moved sweat and moisture vapour out through the garment. This quickly became the global standard and the technology was expanded for use in rescue garments, boots and gloves.

That innovation has continued over the years. Gore was the first to introduce blood pathogen and viral protection into its moisture barriers firefighting gear with GORE® CROSSTECH® Product Technology. In another first, the company introduced GORE® AIRLOCK® Spacer Technology, which uses silicon spacers to create an airspace that acts as a thermal barrier and replaces the heavier fibre version of insulation. It ingeniously uses air as a thermal insulator and was recognised with an Avantex Innovation Prize.

“Gore was the first to introduce blood pathogen and viral protection into its moisture barriers firefighting gear”

Gore’s most recent innovation, the revolutionary GORE® PARALLON® System, reduces the risk of burn injuries and heat stress in both wet and dry conditions. It incorporates a highly breathable Gore thermal barrier combined with the latest GORE-TEX Moisture Barrier with GORE® CROSSTECH® Product Technology. This combination keeps the thermal insulation dry, which ensures a consistent level of thermal protection and enhanced comfort for the wearer during structural firefighting activities.

The company’s product specialists and researchers work closely with fire services around the world to maintain a detailed understanding of the constantly evolving profile of operational risks. This knowledge and expertise drives continuous product innovation and development, improving firefighter protection and mitigating the operational risks that they are regularly exposed to.

Gore technical fire fabrics are compliant with EN469, AS/NZS 4967 and the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, as well as NFPA 1951, 1999 and 1971. They maintain that level of performance thanks to outstanding resistance to wear and abrasion and the ability to consistently retain high breathability and waterproofness after exposure to extreme cold and heat. They protect against particulates, common chemicals and blood pathogens and are renowned for their consistently reliable thermal stability.

Gore only partners with garment suppliers who can guarantee a total quality approach throughout the manufacturing process. Companies that make Gore products must comply with Gore Manufacturing Standards. These standards require the manufacturer to adhere to specific quality levels for machinery used in the manufacturing process. Gore specialists provide recommendations to production sites to ensure that manufacturing standards are met and implemented, at which point the manufacturing plant receives a Gore license. Certification is audited and reviewed on an annual basis.

Manufacturers that are licensed by Gore can rely on the company’s ongoing support. The company’s specialists advise and train management and staff at the manufacturing site on the use of Gore machinery and assist in the optimisation of the manufacturing process. Regular site tests ensure that the manufacturer is achieving consistently high quality and samples are regularly taken from the production line for comparison against the original prototype garments. This is to ensure stability and performance throughout the lifetime of the garment.

Gore’s stringent process for quality assurance ensures that buyers who specify GORE-TEX Moisture Barriers do so with absolute confidence in the garment’s integrity and that it is completely fit for purpose.


UK fire and rescue services reap Collaborative PPE Framework benefits

Thirty-three fire and rescue services, comprising over 33,500 firefighters, are now benefiting from the Local Authority Collaborative PPE Framework, reports Bristol Uniforms

Launched three years ago in June 2017, the Framework gives UK fire and rescue services (FRSs) access to high quality PPE ensembles and volume discounts through a streamlined procurement process.

The Framework was set up in response to calls from government and the industry for FRSs to work together to share best practice and deliver efficiencies. It is run by Kent FRS, with PPE supplied by Bristol Uniforms, which was selected as the preferred supplier following a rigorous two-year tender process.

Signing up via a purchase only or fully managed service contract, FRSs continue to reap the benefits of the Framework, which guarantees quality PPE that has been independently evaluated and tested and can save considerable time and costs.

Oxfordshire FRS firefighters wear PPE sourced through the UK Collaborative PPE Framework

So far this year through the Framework, Bristol has delivered new PPE to seven FRSs, including Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service who opted for a Fully Managed Services Contract. Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, they were measured and received their kit on June 1.

Chief Fire Officer Rob MacDougall said: “Bristol Uniforms uses the latest technology in firefighter clothing, and they design PPE to provide fire crews with the very best protection. The safety of our firefighters is of the utmost importance to us here in Oxfordshire. The kit is lighter in weight, breathable and offers more support for the wearer and we are proud to know we are now one of many fire and rescue services in the country to utilise this latest technology in protective clothing for our staff. Thank you to Bristol Uniforms for providing us with a first-class service.”

Chris Colgan, Director of Operations at Kent Fire and Rescue Service, and Chair of the NFCC PPE/Clothing Committee, said: “The National Collaborative PPE Framework is the first of its kind for the Fire and Rescue Service, enabling borderless provision of standardised critical kit. So far, working with the team at Bristol Uniforms, we have made significant progress in demonstrating that the sector can work as one customer. However, more can be done. The pandemic has shown us that it is not an impossible target to expect all FRSs to sign up to national arrangements delivered through the National Fire Commercial Transformation Programme and we are committed to continuing to build on the success of this arrangement.

“Bristol Uniforms has done a sterling job ensuring service continuity for all FRSs throughout the disruptions caused by Covid-19, working closely with the contract management team at Kent FRS on behalf of the sector. This has been one of the greatest tests of strategic relationship and service management and I am incredibly pleased that the result has been a real proof of concept.”

Roger Startin, Joint Managing Director at Bristol Uniforms, said: “The demand for our cutting-edge PPE through the Collaborative Framework has been unprecedented as FRSs learn about the benefits of joint working. The Framework has significantly improved and simplified the procurement process and despite very challenging circumstances, we continue to size firefighters for their new kit, manufacture and deliver it on time and to budget.”

PPE supplied by Bristol Uniforms within the Framework includes Full Structural Ensemble, a Layered Jacket, Rescue Jacket and USAR Ensemble. The selected styles combine innovative and ergonomic designs with the use of high-performance fabrics and fibres, offering maximum comfort, manoeuvrability and protection.

Further information can be found at: www.bristoluniforms.com/collaborative-ppe-2. FRSs interested in signing up to the contract should contact: collaborativeppe@kent.fire-uk.org.


Cleaning agent helps fight against Covid-19

AWG, in partnership with Godiva, the performance leader in the fire apparatus industry, reports on introducing SANISTREET FLEX, a compact retrofit system that first responders can just plug and play on their fire pumps to dispense cleaning agents on a large scale

With the worldwide battle against Covid-19, people are disinfecting surfaces to limit the spread of coronavirus. IDEX Fire & Safety asked its employees: “How can we help in the fight against Covid-19?” Two of its companies met the challenge. Your worldwide leading partner for firefighting solutions, AWG, worked in collaboration with Godiva, the expert in fire pumps, to create an innovative product to help fight the virus.

They developed SANISTREET FLEX, a sprayer and cleaning agent induction system that mounts on a fire pump by simply attaching it to the delivery valve.

The SANISTREET FLEX will deliver the cleaning agent of your choice. Three mixing rates are available, depending on your cleaning agent’s recommendations: 0.5 per cent, 1 per cent, and 3.5 per cent.

Not only is it a plug and play system, but it will protect fire pumps from early corrosion, as the cleaning agent completely bypasses the pump.

Fire departments can keep it handy on their fire engine for use any time they need to clean anything. It can be used for public spaces like bus shelters, benches, railing, public area frontage, vehicles, and washing onsite firefighting equipment after being on a fire call.

For more information, contact: awg-fittings.com/en/products/sanistreet-flex.html


Coronavirus protection for frontline workers

DuPont reports on signing a contract with the European Commission and EU countries to provide nearly five million coveralls to Covid-19 frontline workers

DuPont, a leading manufacturer of personal protective equipment (PPE), has signed a contract with the European Commission and EU countries, opening the door for countries to place orders for the delivery of millions of Tyvek® hooded coveralls to Covid-19 frontline workers across Europe. The contract allows for over 4.9 million coveralls over the next 12 months to be delivered to key workers.

Tyvek® 500 Xpert, category III, Type 5-B and 6-B combines high protection against liquid and particulate threats with an innovative design for optimised wearer comfort. Photo: GettyImages

One of the products offered is Tyvek® 500 Xpert, category III, Type 5-B and 6-B coverall, which is designed to protect wearers against biohazards as well as liquid and particulate threats. Featuring stitched external seams, elasticated wrists, ankles, and face, it is ideally suited to protect workers in healthcare and other frontline occupations from contamination by droplets, while also providing optimal ease of movement and comfortable wear. Alternatively, if the delivery of the products is time-critical, instead of Tyvek® 500 Xpert, member states can also opt to receive another type of DuPont™ Tyvek® garment that offers similar performance and may be more readily available.

In total, the contract entitles the participating countries to order more than eight million garments over a period of 12 months from DuPont, if demand persists and production processes allow. Since being signed in early May, the contract currently allows procurement from Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, and Slovakia.

Since March, DuPont has increased its production volume and shortened its supply chain to optimise the manufacturing capacity in response to the global crisis. It has also donated 50,000 Tyvek® coveralls to help protect healthcare workers in some of the worst affected countries in Europe. The company has many years of experience in supplying protective garments during viral outbreaks, and some of its Tyvek® and Tychem® hooded coveralls have been successfully used by frontline workers during past epidemics, including Ebola and Bird Flu.

“It is vital that healthcare workers have access to PPE that they can rely on so that they can turn their full attention to the task in hand,” said Albrecht Gerland, Product Manager for DuPont Personal Protection in Europe. ”We are proud to play a part in the ongoing battle against Covid-19. As we manufacture both the fabric as well as the actual coveralls, we are well-placed to quickly respond to the current demand without disrupting the supply to our existing customers. This contract will bring our proven DuPont™ Tyvek® technology to those most in need, and we will continue to work tirelessly to meet the European Commission’s requirements in this evolving situation.”

For more information on DuPont, visit: dpp.dupont.com


A situational awareness tool for first responders

Primetech has announced a distribution partnership with Fotokite, the Swiss-based manufacturers of a situational awareness tool for first responders

Fotokite Sigma is a vehicle-integrated aerial camera system that provides public safety teams with mission critical situational awareness. Fotokite save team resources by launching, flying and landing with the single push of a button. No piloting necessary. Authorised for public safety team operations, no pilot license required.

Save team resources on the response scene and focus on your mission. Drastically improve your team’s situational awareness with the push of a button. Fotokite allows you to gain an unobstructed overview of response scenes in an instant. Live stream and document mission-critical aerial views of the scene without the need forpiloting.

The Fotokite Sigma system consists of the ground station and the kite. A ruggedised tablet runs the Fotokite Live App and displays the thermal and low light video streams, giving teams actionable information throughout their mission.

Keep your team safe while saving resources on every response. Live, continuous and instantly available bird’s-eye views of your scene with secure thermal IR and low-light EO video streams give you access to the information you need, whenever you need it.

  • Safety first, no joysticks included
  • Fully autonomous flight means you never need a pilot, piloting, or pilot training
  • Ruggedised IP55 System suitable for use in rain, snow, and windy conditions
  • 24 hours of continuous situational awareness accessible with the single press of a button.

Live video delivery on-site comes standard and can be shared with team members for control hand-off and mutual aid responses. Optional remote video streaming via integrated cellular data modem enables off-site collaborators to review and provide remote incident support from anywhere. Teams can optionally and automatically maintain all response scene records for post-incident use such as training and evidence locker documentation.

Whether you are first on-scene or arriving mid-response, you can access secure and reliable aerial overviews within seconds. On-scene response records are easy to review and collaborate on, giving you and your team access.

  • Live incident response
  • Search and rescue
  • Traffic and crowd management
  • Post incident documentation
  • Training and operations review.

Configurations

Fotokite Sigma integrates seamlessly into new and existing vehicles. Various mounting options are available to ensure safe and secure installation of Fotokite systems. Rapid and effortless deployment allows teams to gain immediate situational awareness. Fotokite Sigma is an industrial grade tool for public safety teams and is offered in vehicle-integrated or rugged carrying case configurations.

  • Drawer/vehicle integrated
  • Pelican case
  • Roof box
  • Stand-alone system.

Zagreb’s heroic firefighters honoured

Bristol Uniforms report on Zagreb’s firefighters being honoured with a special mural on the city’s passenger tramsThe mural is to thank Zagreb Fire Brigade for their quick and thorough response to a large earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale, which hit Croatia’s capital city in April this year. It also celebrates 150 years of firefighting in the city.

This was the largest earthquake to rock the historic city of Zagreb in 140 years, and tremors were felt as far as southern Austria and Slovenia. Sadly, one person died, and 27 people were injured in the earthquake. Thousands of buildings were also damaged, plus cars were crushed and roads were blocked by falling chunks of masonry.

Zagreb Fire Brigade is a long-standing customer of Bristol Uniforms and its international distributor Teh-projekt, who are delighted to see the firefighters honoured in this way, and to see the XFlex structural firefighting PPE take centre stage in the city.

XFlex is Bristol Uniforms’ flagship PPE design. It is ‘spiral cut’ so none of its seams are straight, but instead follow the body’s curves and contours and allow much more movement and flexibility – perfect for scenarios where firefighters have to work in tight spaces.

Richard Cranham, International Sales Manager at Bristol Uniforms, said: “In very difficult circumstances, the firefighters of Zagreb responded quickly, putting out fires and rescuing people from damaged buildings. This is a wonderful tribute to their hard work and bravery.”

Ilija Pasalic from Teh-projekt, said: “We are really pleased to see Zagreb firefighters recognised in this unique way. The mural looks great and really showcases Bristol’s cutting-edge XFlex PPE.”

For further information about Bristol Uniforms visit: www.bristoluniforms.com


New firefighting fleet for Defence Fire and Rescue

Capita reports on delivering the first 14 new firefighting vehicles as part of the company’s 12-year Defence Fire and Rescue Project contract

The arrival of these appliances is a key milestone in Capita’s work to manage and modernise the Ministry of Defence’s fire and rescue capability.

Capita Fire and Rescue, one of Capita’s business units, is deploying two new types of firefighting vehicles. This includes ten high reach extendable turret (HRET) Strikers and four multi-purpose response vehicles (MPRV) – both providing state of the art firefighting technology.

The HRET Striker is manufactured in the USA by Oshkosh and distributed and supported in the UK by Terberg DTS. It is one of the most innovative firefighting vehicles available in the aircraft fire and rescue industry.

The HRET technology enables greater fire suppression and control, helping firefighters to respond safely and quickly to fires and other incidents while in the cab of the vehicle. This significantly reduces the risk they are exposed to. In addition, the greater distance from a fire allowed by an HRET provides an extra measure of safety for the crew.

The MPRV is designed and manufactured in the UK by Angloco. It comes in two variants designed to support both airfield and structural firefighting operations. The MPRV is also a specialist firefighting vehicle which can be deployed as the primary appliance or alongside the HRET to support response capability.

This first tranche of vehicles has been delivered to locations including RAF Waddington, RAF Brize Norton, RAF Northolt and MOD Corsham to support initial training before the appliances become operational in September 2020. Over the course of the contract Capita will procure and deploy a total of 128 vehicles to replace the Ministry of Defence’s current fleet of fire appliances.

These new firefighting appliances are all owned by the Ministry of Defence. Capita Fire and Rescue is responsible for training firefighters to use, operate and maintain them.

Jason Clay, Managing Director for Capita Fire and Rescue, said: “This is a key milestone in our work to transform the Ministry of Defence’s fire and rescue service. These new vehicles will improve operational capability whilst reducing risk to our firefighters, defence personnel and the critical assets they operate.”

Joel Gray, Chief Fire Officer of Defence Fire and Rescue, said: “All firefighters within Defence Fire and Rescue are looking forward to the delivery of these new vehicles, which represent a step change in firefighting technology. Both variants are a huge improvement on the existing fleet and their delivery represents a real and tangible benefit of the Defence Fire and Rescue Project contract.”

Alistair Brown, Managing Director of Angloco, said: “This is a landmark project for Angloco and a real chance to showcase our growing capabilities not just in vehicle production but in-service support. We are especially proud to have delivered these first vehicles as planned despite the major perturbations of Covid-19 impacting supply chains globally. Angloco has a 40-year-plus history of supporting Defence Fire and Rescue in the UK and we are delighted to continue that legacy.”

Alisdair Couper, Managing Director of Terberg DTS (UK) Ltd, said: “Terberg DTS are delighted to continue their long-standing relationship with the MOD, working with Capita to provide and support some of the world’s most advanced firefighting vehicles for DFRP. The Oshkosh Striker with HRET will provide an advanced, reliable platform with the very latest enhanced capability required for modern firefighting.”


Machinery investment to increase manufacturing capability and capacity

Emergency vehicle manufacturer, Venari Group – based in Brighouse – has invested £400,000 in new machinery in an effort to advance its manufacturing quality, ability and capacity

Following a successful launch into the emergency services market in early 2020, Venari has bought the automated equipment in a bid for growth, amid the challenges brought on by Covid-19.

The significant investment represents a CNC router – capable of precisely cutting sheets of metal from CAD drawings – as well as press brakes and edge banders. The equipment will allow Venari to fulfil high-quality production finishes over large quantities, without outsourcing production. For example, it will see Venari’s experienced team manufacturing bodies from raw material, whilst driving significant improvements in light-weighting, which has huge environmental impacts.

Customers will also experience reduced costs and lead times – and it will lead to subsequent drives in local recruitment.

Venari CEO Oliver North commented: “We’re in the midst of the most challenging economic period that many of us have faced in our careers to-date, but nevertheless we must move forward. The recent challenges in the global supply chain means that maximal self-sufficiency is key, to ensure that we can maintain production for our emergency services throughout their most challenging period.

“We’re also more acutely aware that we must manufacture more in the UK than ever before, to drive employment and economic recovery as much as possible, and this investment shows the respect we have for our market and the economy as a whole. We’re satisfied that we’re doing ‘our bit’ in assisting economic recovery.”

As a key supplier to the UK’s emergency services, Venari has been one of few manufacturers to maintain production during the Covid-19 lockdown – concentrating on ambulance deliveries to the NHS – whilst maintaining maximum protection for its workforce.

Oliver concluded: “Since the Covid outbreak, our team at Venari has taken strides forward in culture, togetherness and sheer work ethic. To now back up this unrivalled passion we have for manufacturing, with an increase in self-sufficiency and capability, moves us in front of our continental European rivals, which is no mean feat. And to be able to compete with global industry leaders, means we can prove a strong case to manufacture all taxpayer-funded assets right here in the UK.”


New service pays cash for unpaid invoices to help unlock funding crisis

New finance provider Azzurro Associates is looking to provide cash against at least £1 billion of UK businesses’ unpaid invoices to help provide much needed liquidity during and beyond the current Covid-19 crisis

  • Finance provider seeks to acquire £1 billion in overdue invoices to support UK businesses
  • Fire and Security firms with between £50K–£10m of unpaid invoices could benefit
  • ‘First’ B2B debt management solution of its kind

 

Larger fire and security firms with more than £50,000 of unpaid invoices could benefit from a new scheme that buys those invoices for cash, turning a potential bad debt write off into positive cashflow.

It is especially targeting fire and security firms with between £50,000 and £10 million in unpaid bills for which it will not only provide upfront cash, but also share in the collections it achieves on any outstanding debts.

Azzurro Associates’ new commercial debt solution differs from ‘traditional’ invoice finance in that the former advances cash against invoices that are still within term (ie 30 days), whereas Azzurro provides cash for debts that are overdue or delinquent, and that a business is struggling or has failed to collect.

Andrew Birkwood, CEO of Azzurro Associates, believes this is the first time that companies in the B2B sector have been able to benefit in this way: “As Covid-19 leads to more businesses failing to pay their suppliers, businesses further up the supply chain need to make sure they don’t run out of cash,” he says.

“When collections activities are exhausted, the only option left is the Courts, but this costs money, takes time, and there is still no guarantee you’ll get any money at the end. Now financial directors have a better option – a way of generating immediate cash from bad debts to avoid an inevitable coronavirus cashflow crunch.”

Azzurro purchases invoices up to a maximum of six years from the due date, paying anything up to 30 per cent of the original invoice value depending on the age of the debt and the credit profile of the debtor. In addition, it shares a proportion of the collections it achieves, which can be as much as 50 per cent. It buys portfolios of all sizes from £50,000 and above, which may comprise a small number of large invoices or a large number of small invoices, provided the smallest invoice value is greater than £100.

Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Azzurro adopts a fair and balanced recoveries process, with a creditor’s brand reputation being of upmost importance. This is achieved by utilising credit reference agency data to determine the appropriate servicing strategy, allowing forbearance and breathing space where required. Where customers do not engage in the amicable contact strategy, Azzurro uses a combination of bureau data and the expertise of a panel of preferred collections partners to ensure only the right cases are selected for litigation.

Interim Small Business Commissioner Philip King, whose office champions fair payment practices and supports businesses looking to resolve payment disputes, says that cashflow is critical: “At times like these we need creative ideas and I’m delighted to see organisations like Azzurro introduce different and innovative solutions.”