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Ron Dobson opens Bristol's new protective clothing Service Centre

Published on 12 July 2010
The opening ceremony of Eastern Service Centre was also supported by Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham
 Eastern SC opening with (l to r) Ian Mitchell (Bristol), Ron Dobson LFB and Jon Cruddas MP Rainham

London Fire Brigade's Commissioner, Ron Dobson QFSM, MIFireE, was on hand to mark the official opening of Bristol's new Eastern Service Centre at Rainham, Greater London, which performs a vital role in maintaining the head-to-toe PPE recently supplied to London Fire Brigade (LFB). The new centre is responsible for the distribution of over 70,000 individual pieces of protective clothing for 5,800 firefighters located at 113 fire stations across the UK's capital in the run-up to its deployment at the beginning of April.

Under the fully managed service, Bristol leased structural firefighting garments to LFB for an eight year period from April 2010 with regular service and maintenance as part of an integrated and comprehensive managed service. This garment lifetime provision, which also covers replacement garments as older items reach the end of their service lives, ensures that every item of PPE will be regularly collected, inspected, repaired and washed. A computerised tracking and condition coding system identifies each item with its designated wearer and location ensuring swift and secure collection and return to its allocated fire station.

At the heart of the contract is the coat and trouser combination based on Bristol's class leading Ergotech Action design and incorporating the latest technically advanced fabrics. The two piece ensemble incorporates a Hainsworth Nomex Titan outer layer combined with a Goretex Crosstech Airlock moisture barrier providing protection against blood borne pathogens.

Contract between LFB and Bristol  enhanced the security measures for firefighters and people who visit London

At the opening ceremony, Ron Dobson spoke of his appreciation of the work which Bristol had undertaken since the contract was awarded in late 2008 during which time every individual firefighter had been measured in a sizing project which had taken up to 6 months and which had been followed by the manufacture of the PPE in what has been one of the largest PPE contracts awarded in recent years. He said: "I would like to express my personal gratitude for the professionalism shown by Bristol Uniforms during the recent roll out of replacement PPE for London firefighters. The contract between Bristol Uniforms and the London Fire Brigade is vital for the safety of our firefighters and for the people who live, work or visit London." He added: "I am looking forward to many years of true partnership working."

Bristol's Joint MD, Roger Startin, spoke of his satisfaction with the way the contract had been managed and said: "Both the initial sizing exercise for 5,800 firefighters, located across the Capital's 612 square miles at 113 fire stations, and the distribution of the head-to-toe PPE to every firefighter at the correct location has been a major logistical exercise. My thanks go to our sizing teams and centre manager, Alan Keeler, and his team who together managed the whole process with commitment and professionalism." He added: "I am personally delighted that the Commissioner has found the time in his busy schedule to be here today and to thank him for his comments which not only reflect the value to the Brigade of a smooth go-live period but help lay the foundations for a long and enduring operational relationship over the coming years." 

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