Thirty-three Fire and Rescue Services (FRS), comprising over 33,500 firefighters, are now benefiting from the Local Authority Collaborative PPE Framework. Launched three years ago in June 2017, the Framework gives UK FRSs access to high quality PPE ensembles and volume discounts through a streamlined procurement process. The Framework was set up in response to calls from government and the industry for FRSs to work together to share best practice and deliver efficiencies. It is run by Kent FRS, with PPE supplied by Bristol Uniforms, who was selected as the preferred supplier following a rigorous two-year tender process. Signing up via a purchase only or fully managed service contract, FRSs continue to reap the benefits of the Framework, which guarantees quality PPE that has been independently evaluated and tested, and can save considerable time and costs. utilize latest technology So far this year through the Framework, Bristol has delivered new PPE to seven FRSs, including Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service who opted for a Fully Managed Services Contract. Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, they were measured and received their kit on 1 June. The safety of our firefighters is of the utmost importance to us here in Oxfordshire" Chief Fire Officer Rob MacDougall said: “Bristol Uniforms uses the latest technology in firefighter clothing, and they design PPE to provide fire crews with the very best protection. The safety of our firefighters is of the utmost importance to us here in Oxfordshire. The kit is lighter in weight, breathable and offers more support for the wearer and we are proud to know we are now one of many fire and rescue services in the country to utilize this latest technology in protective clothing for our staff. Thank you to Bristol Uniforms for providing us with a first-class service.” fire and rescue service Chris Colgan, Director of Operations at Kent Fire and Rescue Service, and Chair of the NFCC PPE/Clothing Committee, said: “The National Collaborative PPE Framework is the first of its kind for the fire and rescue service, enabling borderless provision of standardized critical kit." "So far, working with the team at Bristol Uniforms, we have made significant progress in demonstrating that the sector can work as one customer. However, more can be done. The pandemic has shown us that it is not an impossible target to expect all FRS to sign up to national arrangements delivered through the National Fire Commercial Transformation Programme and we are committed to continuing to build on the success of this arrangement." benefits of joint working The selected styles combine innovative and ergonomic designs with the use of high-performance fabrics and fibers "Bristol Uniforms has done a sterling job ensuring service continuity for all FRS throughout the disruptions caused by COVID-19, working closely with the contract management team at Kent FRS on behalf of the Sector. This has been one of the greatest tests of strategic relationship and service management and I am incredibly pleased that the result has been a real proof of concept.” Roger Startin, Joint Managing Director at Bristol Uniforms said: “The demand for our cutting-edge PPE through the Collaborative Framework has been unprecedented as FRSs learn about the benefits of joint working. The Framework has significantly improved and simplified the procurement process and despite very challenging circumstances, we continue to size firefighters for their new kit, manufacture and deliver it on time and to budget.” high-performance fabrics PPE supplied by Bristol Uniforms within the Framework includes Full Structural Ensemble, a Layered Jacket, Rescue Jacket and USAR Ensemble. The selected styles combine innovative and ergonomic designs with the use of high-performance fabrics and fibers, offering maximum comfort, manoeuvrability and protection.
Firefighters are urging drivers to be careful not to park over, or too close to, fire hydrants which give crews access to a crucial supply of water during incidents. Hydrants can be found on public roads, pavements or grass verges and are clearly marked with a yellow ‘H’ next to the hydrant cover, or on a nearby piece of street furniture e.g. lampposts. The plea comes as a result of crews not being able to get to the water supply on a number of occasions, whether it be during a fire or after an incident when they need to fill up the fire engine ready for the next. Steps to consider when parking vehicles Most recently the issue has been highlighted in the New Romney area, but drivers all over Kent are encouraged to take the following steps into consideration when parking: Look out for hydrants marked with a yellow ‘H’ If there’s a hydrant in the place you were going to park in, please find an alternative location If there’s a hydrant near to where you have parked, make sure there’s a good amount of space between your car and the hydrant – firefighters need to be able to lift the cover and connect the appropriate apparatus to get a supply of water for firefighting Crucial for firefighters to access hydrants Any delay in accessing water could have an impact on firefighting operations"Assistant Director for Operational Response at Kent Fire and Rescue Service Chris Colgan said: “It’s crucial that crews are able to access hydrants, whether it be during an incident to tackle a fire, or afterwards to fill the fire engine up ready for the next call. Any delay in accessing water could have an impact on firefighting operations, so it’s really important that drivers work with us to make sure firefighters can do their jobs. “We know some drivers make a conscious effort not to park over hydrants, but often vehicles are still too close for crews to gain access.” Kent Fire and Rescue Service has contingency plans in place in the event that a hydrant is not accessible. Under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 it is an offence to be parked over or to prevent access to a fire hydrant when it is required for firefighting, and vehicles repeatedly blocking hydrants could be reported.