Firefighters across Cornwall are wearing new PPE, procured through the UK Collaborative PPE Framework. All 560 firefighters in the county have been equipped with two sets of new gold-coloured structural coats and trousers, along with flash hoods, and a set of both structural and rescue gloves.
The new PPE, designed and manufactured by Bristol Uniforms, benefits from the very latest in fibre and fabric technology, along with ergonomic styling for ease of movement.
Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS), as part of its commitment to firefighter safety, also engaged with staff about the provision of additional PPE to meet the demands of non-structural fire situations, such as road traffic collisions and wildfire control. This supports the specific needs of Cornwall’s remote rural risk profile. As a result, an order has also been placed for lighter-weight, more breathable rescue jackets, which are compatible with the structural trousers and other essential PPE, providing the most suitable level of protection.
Mark Salter is Group Manager at CFRS, with responsibility for Assets, Health and Safety and Wellbeing. He said, “Feedback from our firefighters has been very positive. The cut of the jacket is more fitted than our previous kit, which is better for movement and manoeuvrability, and the extra padding on the knees means the trousers are more comfortable when kneeling or crawling. The wide range of male and female sizes ensures that every member of the crew can get a good fit.
“The firefighters have found that the new lighter colour shows up dirt and soot, but that is a helpful indicator of when the kit needs cleaning.”
CFRS is continuing its Maintenance and Care arrangement with Bristol, for regular cleaning, and repairs and decontamination if necessary. Dirty kit is collected by Bristol Uniforms and taken to one of two in-house Service Centres where it is washed and thoroughly examined before being returned within seven days: a service that is reassuring for Mark Salter and his firefighters. Mark said, “The robust care provision is very important to us, particularly given the current risk of Coronavirus, and concerns around carcinogens in smoke particles. Bristol’s in-house cleaning and repair service means we can always have full confidence that our PPE is fit for purpose and providing the right protection.”
Mark Salter continues, “As a fairly small FRS, the Collaborative Framework offered us the best possible efficiencies, and we’re very pleased with the result. Bristol Uniforms has provided excellent support and guidance throughout the process, as have Kent FRS who were particularly helpful in the early stages of the procurement process.”
Philip Tasker, UK and Ireland Sales Director at Bristol Uniforms, said, “It is very rewarding to see the Cornish firefighters out on the job in their smart new PPE, knowing that they are benefitting from a state-of-the-art design featuring advanced technologies, enhanced comfort and maximum protection.”
Mark Hewitt, Chief Fire Officer at Cornwall FRS said, “The safety and welfare of our staff is of paramount importance, so ensuring that our firefighters are provided with quality personal protective garments is essential. I am assured that this new PPE from Bristol Uniforms meets our specific requirements. My thanks and acknowledgement also go to Cornwall Council for supporting our fire and rescue service with a 15-year capital replacement programme, which enables significant investment in safety critical areas such as our PPE procurement, and also our internal technical services team who have worked with the collaboration and Bristol Uniforms to deliver this project.”