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UK’s defence fire services worldwide to buy British firefighter protective clothing

Published on 12 June 2009

The new fire kit with DFRMO firefighters (foreground) with (back row) from left: Chris Jones; Ian Mitchell; Roger Startin; Terry Brewer; Noel Roberts; Liz Barron
New fire kit with DFRMO firefighters and in the back row (from left): Chris Jones; Ian Mitchell; Roger Startin; Terry Brewer; Noel Roberts; Liz Barron

Key contract won by Bristol Uniforms

The Ministry of Defence has signed a contract with Bristol Uniforms to supply firefighter protective clothing to the Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation (DFRMO) for the next 15 years which will see its 1,900 firefighters around the world kitted out head-to-toe in Bristol Uniforms' Integrated Clothing Project (ICP) Personal Protective Clothing (PPE ).

To ensure its operational personnel receive the best PPE available for the wide range of conditions its operates in, DFRMO has entered into a 15 year Fully Managed Service contract for the provision of PPE under the Firebuy National Procurement Strategy. This is a major development which sees DFRMO become the first user to contract for the complete Fully Managed Service (FMS) under the ICP through which the head-to-toe firefighter protection will be acquired under a lease arrangement with garment lifetime maintenance provided under the managed services element of the contract.

The PPE, due to be rolled out from January 2010, will be used to protect DFRMO firefighters at 70 UK fire stations in the UK and a further 13 abroad. 11 of these are in European theatres including Germany, Cyprus and Gibraltar with others in the Ascension and Falkland Islands.

The contract was signed on 2 June 2009 at a ceremony held at DFRMO's Defence Fire Training & Development Centre located at Manston in Kent. The ceremony was attended by Firebuy, Bristol Uniforms, MOD Commercial and DFRMO representatives and marks the end of many months of intensive development work to ensure the varying and often unique climates and conditions DFRMO operates in were fully encompassed within the contract.

DFRMO's Chief Fire Officer Noel Roberts said after the signing ceremony, "The safety of our firefighters is of paramount importance and the letting of this contract with Bristol Uniforms will secure the highest of standards for the protection of our firefighters for the future'.


Signing the contract from left: Liz Barron; Roger Startin; Ian Mitchell (signing); Terry Brewer; Chris Jones; Noel Roberts
Signing the contract from left: Liz Barron; Roger Startin; Ian Mitchell (signing); Terry Brewer; Chris Jones; Noel Roberts

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Salt, Strategic Director Operations is Project Managing the introduction of the new PPE and organised the ceremony to ensure the achievements of all the staff involved in the procurement process were recognised. He added, "The PPE contract's fully managed service will enable DFRMO to concentrate on its core roles and responsibilities". Sarah Witt, Strategic Director, Resources & Plans, was responsible for capturing all the funding from the MOD Business Units and completing the investment appraisal to identify the most cost effective procurement strategy.

DFRMO have been fully engaged with Firebuy during the tender and evaluation processes and are content that the FMS for PPE offered under the national strategy is technically compliant, fit for purpose and meets all of DFRMO's requirements.

The measuring, inspection, repair, tracking and central laundering services by Bristol will ensure MOD fully complies with the relevant Health & Safety legislation and ensure good fitting, serviceable and clean PPE in support of their operational role. The HQ DFRMO Operations team provided all the technical input to the Business Case and are now busy working with Bristol and Firebuy developing the implementation plan which will see the PPE introduced to service in January 2010.

Bristol's joint Managing Director Roger Startin added, "This is a significant milestone in our roll out of the ICP over the next few years. This contract takes full advantage of all the features of the procurement framework providing DFRMO with head-to-toe PPE under a lease agreement with a fully integrated managed service over 15 years. It also makes a valuable contribution to our strategy to broaden our involvement in supplying PPE to the emergency services in the UK as well as adding to our growing presence in Europe. With the sizing process about to begin, we look forward to working closely with DFRMO over the next six months on the logistics of the project during which time we will be manufacturing the thousands of individual items in preparation for delivery during January next year.

Firebuy's Chief Executive Terry Brewer commented, "The MOD's decision to procure DFRMO's firefighter PPE requirements through Firebuy's ICP Contract, after a thorough evaluation of the alternatives available to them from manufacturers both in the UK and abroad, is testament to the rigorous technical evaluation and testing to which the PPE was subjected. We are delighted that interest in the benefits of the ICP is continuing to grow not only amongst the country's fire & rescue services but elsewhere in the public sector where firefighters are deployed."

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