The changing role of the firefighter and their PPE

Hainsworth Technology speaks to firefighter Peggy Male about her experiences selecting new kit from the Collaborative Procurement Framework. Peggy has been a firefighter with West Midlands Fire Service for 19 years

“During the last few years I have been fortunate enough to be able to get first hand insight into the detailed processes involved in selecting the PPE worn by firefighters.

“Most recently, this has involved being one of a small number of firefighters taking part in UK wide trials to choose our new kit under the Collaborative Procurement Framework led by Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

“I took part in tests held at the Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh which involved us testing a range of kit from different suppliers against different operational scenarios.

“We had no idea who the suppliers were and gave our opinions which were then factored into detailed evaluation taking place in the background.

“I was also invited to take part in a physiology study undertaken by Portsmouth University. Over a five-day period, they examined the effect of the preferred kit on the firefighter’s body.

“It was fascinating to be involved in the trials and to know that the feedback of the end users really meant something to those having to make the decisions.

“There is no question the kit worn by firefighters today is a lot better than it was 19 years ago when I entered the service.

“It continues to evolve as new technologies and innovations become available. When I started, the vast majority of firefighters were male but as more women have become operational so more consideration has been given to body shape and sizing. I think we have something like 28 different sizes available at West Midlands!

“Whenever new kit is introduced, there are always comments about things like colour, but that is pretty irrelevant. What matters most is am I safe in it and do I trust it to protect me in the range of different situations I am likely to face as a modern day firefighter.

The chosen garments included Bristol Uniforms’ Structural Coat and Trousers featuring Hainsworth Technology TITAN® 1260 fabric with PBI fibres.


The Emergency Services Show announces SkyBound Rescuer Drone Seminar and Drone Zone

Organisers of the Emergency Services Show have announced two new features at this year’s event: the SkyBound Rescuer Drone Seminar and a SkyBound Rescuer Drone Zone, sponsored by SOARIZON® by Thales

The new seminar and exhibition zone are designed to foster drone development for emergency services through research and discussion. The Emergency Services Show 2019 is the UK’s largest event for the emergency services and a showcase for emerging technologies. It takes place in the Drone Dome, Hall 5 at the NEC, Birmingham on September 18-19.

“New emerging drone technologies are seducing public safety organisations with the promise of reducing search times, improving situational awareness, enhancing team safety, reducing costs, or even the potential of delivering medical supplies ahead of rescue teams,” said Gemma Alcock, founder and CEO of Skybound Rescuer. “Drones are saving lives faster, safer, and cheaper than ever before. But drones are still far from fulfilling their full potential, the best is yet to come.”

“Drones have a valuable role to play in supporting and enhancing the work of all our emergency services,” added ESS event director David Brown. “The addition of the Drone Dome will be a brilliant showcase to encourage enhanced operational efficiency and effectiveness alongside other emerging technologies at the show such as the latest vehicles, communications, medical and firefighting equipment, protective clothing, training technology and much more.”

Drones are changing emergency response. No emergency service around the world is immune from the disruption, from fire and rescue services and law enforcement through to voluntary search and rescue organisations. This event will help facilitate the drone revolution in the emergency services; bringing together the technology, the people, and the experts to keep attendees ahead of the rapid changes developing throughout drone public safety operations.

As with the emergence of any new technology, gaps in research and understanding can cause mistakes through ill-informed decision-making. There is an industry-wide concern that much is being said and done without empirical evidence on best practice. In the expanding usage of drones by emergency services, it is imperative that a research-driven approach is taken to move forward effectively and efficiently. This event aims to bring the public safety sector together to share international research and learning to avoid repetition of mistakes, research, and misspent resources.

The SkyBound Rescuer Drone Seminar and a SkyBound Rescuer Drone Zone will help emergency services and public safety professionals to make the best tactical and strategic use of drone technology. Attendees are expected to come from every part of the emergency services community including fire and rescue services, police and ambulance services; lowland, mountain, cave and coastal SAR; lifeboats and flood rescue units.

The SkyBound Rescuer Drone Seminar Day on September 19 will share the latest innovative thinking, reveal what lessons can be learned from experience, fully explore what is possible today and equip visitors with the strategic and tactical knowledge to apply to future drone operations. The seminar day opens with a thought-provoking presentation on Public Safety Drones by internationally renowned keynote speaker Charles Werner, a pioneer of drones in public safety across the USA. This will be followed by five research-driven presentations covering the latest research in the field of drones for public safety in the UK and internationally. These will cover:


  • Drone Procedures Optimisation
  • Optimising the Probability of Detection for an Aerial Search by Using ViDAR
  • Using AI and Drones to Detect Aggressive Behaviour and Weapons in Crowds
  • Using Autonomous BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) Drones for First Response
  • Drone Search Research Trials.


To register to attend the SkyBound Rescuer Drone Seminar on September 19 visit:

There will also be a networking event starting at 1515 in the Drone Dome on day one, September 18. This event is designed to encourage drone development through meaningful discussion across emergency service users, with admission on a first come first served basis on the day.

All aspects of the Emergency Services Show, including the exhibition and seminars are free-to-attend, as is parking at the venue. To register to attend the show visit:

Expanded insulation range for passive fire protection system

Isover reports on its U Protect insulation system for passive fire protection in HVAC applications which now has an increased choice of insulation thicknesses

The U Protect system has been tested under EN 1366-1 and EN 1366-8 and assessed against BS 476: Part 24, offering up to two hours fire resistance in HVAC ventilation and smoke extract ducts, and one-hour fire resistance for kitchen ducts.

The U Protect system comprises of two insulation products; U Protect slabs and U Protect wired mats, as well as a range of U Protect accessories. Both the U Protect slabs and U Protect wired mats are made from ULTIMATE™, an innovative mineral wool that is easy to install, lighter than stone wool alternatives and combines the advantages of conventional thermal and acoustic insulation with excellent fire performance.

The U Protect system now provides fire protection for a wide array of potential HVAC applications, with Isover having now expanded its range to include an increased choice of insulation thicknesses. Slabs are now also available in 30mm, 40mm, 50mm and 70mm, and wired mats now also come in additional 30mm and 90mm sizes.

The non-combustible slabs and wired mats have a Euroclass A1 fire rating when classified according to BS EN 13501-1. They feature a black aluminium foil facing for a professional, neat finish and to differentiate from standard HVAC insulation. Lightweight and easy to handle, they provide maximum flexibility and mechanical performance, allowing fast and efficient cutting and fitting using standard knives.

The system accessories, which are integral to ensure effective fire protection and straightforward installation, include intumescent paint, glue, screws and tape.

Emmanuel Dupuis, Product Manager Technical Insulation at Isover, said: “A critical risk when designing a building is the potential spread of fire within HVAC systems, from one compartment to another.

“Effective fire protection of metal ductwork helps to ensure fire safety of ventilation, kitchen and smoke extraction ducts in a building and U Protect is an integrated system for passive fire protection for all types of ductwork; circular and rectangular, vertical and horizontal. It offers a range of benefits for the installer and specifier. For example, the adhesive is only required at penetration details rather than at every insulation joint, resulting in further cost and time saving during installation.”

Thanks to the inherent sound deadening properties of the mineral wool insulation, the U Protect system will help to reduce noise from ductwork, improving the acoustic comfort of those living or working within the building. The system can also be used to meet thermal building regulations to BS 5422:2009 and offers energy savings by protecting the installation from external thermal variation.

Honour for fire industry chief executive

The Chief Executive Officer of Coltraco Ultrasonics has been awarded an OBE in Queen’s Honours List

Carl Stephen Patrick Hunter, CEO of Coltraco Ultrasonics, has been awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Prime Minister’s list for the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to business and international trade. This follows the news last month about the company winning the Queen’s Award for International Trade.

Commenting on the award, Carl told FIRE: “I am honoured to be awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen which was announced in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to business and international trade.

“Since 2017 I have had the privilege to see some very fine, and largely unreported, work in our government and parliament and have met extraordinary and dedicated ministers, parliamentarians, civil servants and business leaders. Public service is about the common good and the elevation of the condition of the people at home and overseas.

“As a former soldier and businessman I believe ‘national service’ is done for the country as much in the private as the public sectors, that the partnership between government and business in a shared national endeavour is therefore an essential one, and see UK exporting and investment as a key component to global stability and national prosperity and that the link between both is a national interest that serves global security.

“I believe my role in the company is to create a happy and dynamic environment for all the members of it so as to create a profitable and sustainable company. We are a high exporting manufacturer to 110 countries. I am proud of the company, for the wonderful and professional human beings they are and it is a credit to them that we won the Queen’s Award for International Trade last month.”

Firefighters praise new lifesaving equipment for pets

Pets across the county are now safer than ever thanks to a new type of oxygen mask on our fire engines

In partnership with the non-profit organisation, Smokey Paws, each of our fire appliances have now been equipped with a pet oxygen mask.

As a nation of animal lovers, we want the best for our pets, especially in the event of a fire. Smoke inhalation from a fire is just as much a risk with pets as their human owners. Until now firefighters have used the same oxygen mask for pets as people. These new masks are specially designed to fit over the snout of an animal and come in three different sizes to deliver a better flow of oxygen to the animal, increasing their chance of survival.

Smokey Paws was created by Lynn Carberry and her husband Brian Lockyer, in Weston-super-Mare and have provided critical, pet life-saving oxygen masks to the UK’s fire services.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have attended 133 house fires over the past five years which have involved pets. At the beginning of June fire crews attended a house fire in Sheffield where a dog was rescued, firefighters successfully used a Smokey Paws mask to revive the dog.

Station Manager Wayne Sutcliffe said: “We attend many house fires where pets are involved, in the past we have used normal oxygen masks to attempt to revive them. Thankfully with the supply of these specifically designed masks we will now be able to save even more beloved family pets.”

A spokesperson for Smokey Paws said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped our campaign, working towards our mission of making sure every UK fire engine is equipped with our masks, with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue now fully equipped thanks to kind donations. To hear that these masks have already made a difference in the area reinforces their importance and spurs us on to complete our mission.”

India’s International Cricket Stadium protected from risk of fire

Kentec reports on how spectators, players and property at India’s Mohali International Cricket Stadium are being protected by its Taktis panel

The Taktis 8 loop addressable fire panel, installed by Firehut Commercial Equipment Pvt Ltd, was chosen by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to replace a faulty system, and to provide a reliable and user-friendly control panel.

The Mohali International Cricket Stadium has a capacity of 26,000 and the pavilions, public areas, club house, player changing rooms and conference halls are protected by a fire system comprising approximately 700 detectors and devices, all controlled via the Taktis panel.

Rajat Vadera, Chairman and Managing Director at Firehut Commercial Equipment PVT, says it is a prestigious contract: “Cricket is regarded as close to a religion in India, and with major international cricket matches held at the stadium, it was vital that the panel installed was highly-reliable and user-friendly.”

A key feature of the Taktis range is its ease of use. A 7” full colour resistive touch screen display and a clear, uncluttered intuitive user interface makes it easy to use even for those with minimal or no training, essential in the event of an emergency. The display can also be customised with client branding and logos.

Kevin Swann, Managing Director at Kentec, says sports stadiums provide a complex fire safety challenge: “With a large site, split into numerous areas, as well as the high volume of spectators, the fire panel needs to have the capacity to provide the necessary zone indications, and as well as providing straight-forward configuration for the installer.

“As multiple protocols can be supported on each panel, Taktis gives installers and end-users maximum choice in their systems’ design, and the scalable nature of the product provides the highest level of future-proofing and networking possibilities.”

Built out of a swamp in 1992, the Mohali International Cricket Stadium is now considered one of India’s best stadiums, with excellent practice facilities, a stadium popular with spectators, and a dead wicket producing high-scoring draws. It was home to the renowned 1996 World Cup Semi Final, where Australia squeezed past the West Indies in a nail-biting finish.

Fire safety scheme launched

Assessed Risk reports on launching a new company, The Fire Safety Rating Scheme

In response to an increase in businesses wanting to improve their fire safety, Wiltshire based Assessed Risk have announced the launch of their sister company, The Fire Safety Rating Scheme. This is a revolutionary scheme and the first of its kind in the UK.

The Fire Safety Rating Scheme will offer users the ability to understand and improve their fire safety standards, which in turn keep their businesses, buildings and employees safer from the risk of fire.

Applicants are guided through an online evidence based self-assessment questionnaire that covers areas such as the building structure, internal fittings, and fire safety provisions. This information is then reviewed by a qualified team of experts to gauge the fire risk levels, and an official Fire Safety Rating (1-5 star) is issued together with certification that the applicant can display.

Commenting on the new venture, Managing Director Scott Taylor said: “With over 181,000 fires attended across the UK last year, the risk of fire is real. Working within this industry, it has become apparent that businesses want to do more to protect themselves and their people. By participating in this scheme, our customers can be confident that they are going above and beyond the legal minimum in fire safety standards. What’s more, we are in conversations with leading insurers to discuss how we can create a partnership where both parties are rewarded – the insurer has less risk and our customers are rewarded with lower premiums by being a proactive and safer policyholder.”

For more information visit: