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Bristol Uniforms Designs New PPE Kit For Cambridgeshire Fire And Rescue Service
Bristol Uniforms Designs New PPE Kit For Cambridgeshire Fire And Rescue Service

The Bristol kit uses latest technology in firefighter clothing and is ergonomically designed to provide crews with the best protection Bristol Uniforms has designed and supplied brand new PPE for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, which was rolled out in April. The distinctive new protective kit in dark navy and orange consists of over 6,500 items, to be worn by more than 500 operational members of staff. Bristol’s XFlexTM garments for Cambridgeshire FRS combine a Hainsworth TITAN1220 outer fabric, with a Gore CROSSTECHTM moisture barrier. Cambridgeshire FRS opted for a Lease Managed Service on a ten-year contract. It will see all the new PPE regularly serviced by Bristol on a pre-arranged maintenance cycle, providing regular inspection, repair, washing, decontamination where required, condition coding and return within a 7-day turnaround. PPE kit uses latest technology in firefighter clothing Chief Fire Officer Chris Strickland said: “This protective kit uses the latest technology in firefighter clothing and is ergonomically designed to provide our crews with the very best protection. “The safety of our firefighters is of the utmost importance to us and a host of options went through rigorous testing before our staff chose the very best fit for them. The kit is lighter in weight, breathable and offers more support for the wearer and we are proud to know we are the first fire and rescue service in the country to utilise this latest technology in protective clothing for our staff.” Philip Tasker, UK Sales Director at Bristol Uniforms comments: “Cambridgeshire FRS needed a light-weight, breathable kit, which offered head-to-toe protection. They considered numerous options before opting for our XFlex and RescueFlex range, featuring a coat and trouser combination offering improved ergonomics, flexibility and comfort.”

Cambridgeshire FRS Signs 10 Year Contract With Bristol Uniforms
Cambridgeshire FRS Signs 10 Year Contract With Bristol Uniforms

The contract has been signed for head-to-toe supply of firefighter PPE including XFlex™ design coats and trousers The contract has been signed for head-to-toe supply of firefighter PPE including  XFlex™ design coats and trousersFollowing a rigorous tender process, Cambridgeshire FRS has signed a 10 year contract with Bristol Uniforms for the head-to-toe supply of firefighter PPE, including its latest XFlex™ design coats and trousers, which is planned for a spring 2016 roll-out. Ergonomic and flexible designs Cambridgeshire FRS, with around 600 full-time and retained firefighters, has again opted to move to a Lease Managed Service which will see all its PPE, including fire coats and trousers, fire hoods, gloves and boots supplied under a lease contract through which all the kit supplied will be regularly serviced by Bristol. Once deployed, every firefighter will have their individually bar-coded PPE collected from one of 28 fire stations across the county on a pre-arranged maintenance cycle which will provide regular inspection, repair, washing, decontamination where required, condition coding and return within a 7-day turnaround. One of the factors influencing Cambridgeshire’s decision to move to Bristol for its PPE requirements was their ability to offer the ergonomically efficient and flexible XFlex™ design which provides new levels of wearer comfort. This design was first introduced in 2012 and has become popular both in the UK and in overseas markets. Available in several variants, Cambridgeshire have chosen a Hainsworth TITAN® 1220 outer fabric in navy for their Fire Tunic – Structural with a Gore Crosstech® Fireblocker moisture barrier. Additionally, for technical rescue and USAR operations, a Fire Tunic – Lightweight jacket is supplied with a Kermel High-Vis Orange outershell and a Gore Crosstech® SR moisture barrier. The other components of the head-to-toe PPE include a Bristol fire hood, Bristol leather structural glove, technical rescue glove and leather firefighter boots. Bristol’s innovative garments Commenting on Bristol’s successful tender bid, Roger Startin, Bristol’s Joint Managing Director, said, “Cambridgeshire is one of the first fire & rescue services to put their PPE requirements out to tender since we launched our XFlex™ and RescueFlex™ innovative garments in 2012, so we are delighted to see these designs instrumental in securing this new business. Our ability to provide the flexibility of a lease contract, offering the opportunity to spread the cost of the new PPE over the lifetime of the garments, together with a comprehensive managed service was seen as particularly beneficial taken over ten years and will help ensure optimum garment life and lower cost of ownership”. Cambridgeshire’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Chris Strickland, on signing the contract in early June, said, "As a Service we wanted to source robust yet lightweight PPE that would allow our staff to work safely and comfortably in most situations, whilst being able to turn to a high level of protection when dealing with compartment fires. By working closely with our staff we were able to develop an innovative specification that should provide us with the best of both worlds at a competitive price. We received bids from three providers and were satisfied that Bristol offered the best all round solution. Our staff are keen to receive their new PPE from Bristol and we look forward to a long and successful partnership with them as a company".

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Firefighters Praise Bristol Firefighter Clothing In Flashover Incident
Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Firefighters Praise Bristol Firefighter Clothing In Flashover Incident

Examination of fire kit shows only superficial discoloration and damage to areas of the coat and trousers exposed Neither firefighter was seriously injured in the incident. Each has praised the level of protection provided by their PPE.Two Derbyshire Fire & Rescue firefighters called to a house fire in Somercotes were engulfed in a flashover, believed to have been caused by an exploding aerosol. One was thrown to the floor in the blast, on the first floor of the property, and partially covered by a bedroom door as he lay face down whilst the other, holding the hose reel jet, was able to turn it on. Whilst the flames disappeared, he remained briefly on fire. Neither firefighter was seriously injured in the incident. Each has praised the level of protection provided by their PPE.Derbyshire Fire & Rescue re-equipped its 800 firefighters in 2008 with new Bristol PPE incorporating a Grey/Red Hainsworth®TITAN outershell with a Gore Crosstech Airlock® moisture barrier and Nomex® Delta C lining. At the time, Derbyshire explained that they had chosen the Hainsworth® TITAN outershell as it offered Nomex® on the face to provide optimal thermal protection, abrasion resistance and colour fastness, with the high strength of KEVLAR® protected on the back away from the effects of abrasion and UV degradation - the two layers designed to work together to maximise comfort, breathability, thermal protection and wear life.In this incident, which recreated conditions similar to those experienced in a manikin fire test, the firefighters reported experiencing a feeling of warmth on their arms when their fire coat was on fire but suffered no burns. Apart from minor blistering to parts of their faces, the only other minor injury was to the firefighter blown to the floor who suffered a small patch of blisters at the top of the hip where the blast had lifted the bottom of his fire coat to leave the area above his trouser waist slightly exposed. “The firefighters involved were very complimentary about the level of protection their fire kit provided" Examination of the fire kit (see enclosed pictures) shows only superficial discoloration and damage to areas of the coat and trousers exposed directly to the flashover blast. Derbyshire FRS believes this incident, although rare, provides ample evidence in support of their decision to use Bristol’s Hainsworth® TITAN/Gore Crosstech Airlock® combination for optimum personal protection.Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Services Group Manager, Alex Johnson, who carried out the accident investigation said, “The firefighters involved were very complimentary about the level of protection their fire kit provided. This incident had the potential for a more serious outcome and the firefighters feel that their new fire kit prevented more serious injuries being sustained.”Philip Tasker, Bristol’s National Sales Manager, added, “It is, fortunately, unusual for firefighters to be caught in flashover situations such as this, and it is reassuring for all concerned in the design, manufacture and use of these protective garments that they do perform so well under operational conditions. This is what we, and our fabric suppliers, work hard to achieve in designing, and thoroughly testing, composite materials to ensure adequate protection for the firefighter in a wide range of operational scenarios.”Charlotte Brandt, Hainsworth’s Sales Manager - Technical & Industrial Textiles, said, “‘Hainsworth® TITAN is designed to offer maximum breathability and comfort for day to day wear, without compromising protection should the worst happen and a fire-fighter gets caught in a ‘flash-over’. It makes us proud to receive feedback like this, as we are confident Derbyshire’s choice of PPE through Bristol Uniforms was the right technical decision to procure the best combination of comfort, heat stress management and thermal protection currently available on the market.”

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