Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NRFS) has become the first UK fire and rescue service to invest in Dräger’s new AirBoss Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) with telemetry, as it looks to provide its firefighters with the most advanced fire safety equipment on the market today.
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service is one of the most diverse fire and rescue services in the UK, responding to risks from the urban south east corner of Northumberland to the remote rural areas in the north and west of the county. The service operates 16 fire stations, which are responsible for the safety of 316,028 people within an area of 5,026 square kilometres.
The Northumberland team has chosen the PSS® AirBoss Connect, providing maximum situational awareness for the firefighter. Dräger provides the only operationally-proven telemetry solution in the UK, which is compliant with relevant British Standards for telemetry, delivering vital information, which is automatically communicated between the wearer of the BA set and the Entry Control Point.
NRFS has also invested in Dräger’s SCBA cleaning system for cleaning breathing apparatus facemasks, that protects emergency responders from the effects of contaminants. All equipment is supported by a full service and maintenance provision.
Northumberland’s SCBA and telemetry equipment investment benefits from being able to utilise an upgrade path of existing equipment, which takes advantage of the already-embedded telemetry. The contract will therefore deliver real savings of over 25% when compared to a complete system replacement. These savings have been realised in a time when efficiencies and value for money are paramount for our public services while also delivering the most advanced BA safety technology for firefighters.
Paul Hedley, Chief Fire Officer at Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, says the investment has been driven by safety, scalability, reliability and value for money. He said, “We do everything we can to provide our employees the highest levels of protection, and this investment will also further enhance our ability to make the communities of Northumberland safer. This means better protecting firefighters from the contaminants their SCBA are exposed to, and it therefore was logical to invest in Dräger-approved systems, which will ensure effective and deep cleaning of equipment.
“Moreover, this kit is both backwards and future compatible, meaning it can be integrated with our existing equipment that is still operational, giving us the option to upgrade more advanced elements of the technology over time as they develop.”
Dräger will continue to work as a strong partner of Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service to develop joint community initiatives across the county and will provide beneficiary and financial support where possible, supporting Northumberland in their delivery of the Prince’s Trust Programme, Young Firefighters Association, youth engagement initiatives as well as providing support for under-represented and disadvantaged groups.
Dräger equipment is also British built, which Paul Hedley says provides a high level of assurance in the face of global supply chain issues. Paul said, “With Dräger’s Global Centre of Excellence in our neighbouring Blyth, our supply of equipment is both local and secure, providing assurances to us as a service, as well as boosting the local and national economy.”
Matthew Bedford, Managing Director of Dräger Safety UK, says, “Our relationship with the service goes back more than 30 years, and we are proud to meet its desire to provide the latest, most innovative technologies that promote the health and wellbeing of its firefighters.”
Liz Millward, Marketing Manager at Dräger Safety UK, says the new AirBoss provides the utmost in usability, safety+, serviceability, and connectivity. “The kit includes the new and innovative core AirBoss features such as a carrying system with pneumatics, monitoring systems, masks and communication technologies and numerous accessories including a Quick Connect system for rapid connection and disconnection of cylinders,” she says. “The important high levels of usability and state-of-the-art ergonomics provide improved wearer comfort and mobility, complemented by a pivoting waist belt and three-step height adjustments which address the now more diverse workforce across our fire services.”