Greater Manchester becomes first UK FRS to adopt layered approach to multi-purpose PPE

3. Bristol Uniforms layered structural PPE Level 1An innovative layered approach to garment design sees Greater Manchester become the first UK fire and rescue service to meet all its response duties in one garment in which the different levels and types of protection for structural, USAR and wildland are met through wearing different combinations of outer and under garments. The contract for the 3200 sets of the XFlex/RescueFlex™ layered garments was confirmed recently.

In a major departure from the approach to firefighter protection developed over the last 10 years, Greater Manchester’s new garments, designed by Bristol, will substantially reduce the number of garments each firefighter will need to fulfil the European standards of protection for use in structural fire fighting, technical rescue operations and fighting heath and scrub fires.

The novel layered approach marries two jackets, a RescueFlex™ Jacket and an XFlex™ outer jacket, with one XFlex™ overtrouser. The RescueFlex™ jacket has a high visibility outershell with a Crosstech® SR moisture barrier and meets the Wildland Standard EN15614:2007 and Hi-Visibility Standard EN20471:2013. When worn with the XFlex™ outer jacket it meets EN469:2005 Level 2. The XFlex™ outer jacket is manufactured using an outer fabric of Pbi Matrix with a thermal barrier. The XFlex™ trouser combines a Pbi Matrix outershell with a Crosstech® Fireblocker moisture barrier and a thermal barrier.

The profile of the garments is based on Bristol’s latest XFlex™ design, providing an enhanced level of comfort and ergonomic flexibility. Combined with its technical performance, these wearer considerations, in which there was a clear preference for Bristol’s design and visual appeal, were key to securing the contract.

Philip Tasker, Bristol’s UK Sales Director, said, “Our XFlex™ design platform has already won us considerable new business both in UK and overseas markets and has enabled us to successfully deliver on Manchester’s needs for a layered garment by adopting the basic design principles of XFlex™ to create an entirely new firefighter garment solution.”