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New tools and technologies are emerging that augment the efforts of the fire market to prevent and fight fires. Modern firefighting is benefiting from an ongoing sea change in technological capabilities, spanning equipment, electronic components, greater connectivity and firefighter monitoring, to name just a few. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What technologies will have the greatest impact on the fire industry in 2021?
Specialist personal protective equipment from Dräger, a pioneer in the fields of medical and safety technology, will now be available to all Emergency Services and Blue Light organizations in the UK through a new framework agreement with public sector procurement specialists, YPO. The Emergency Services and Blue Light framework agreement specially covers three lots: firefighter helmets and associated products (lot 6); ambulance technician helmets and associated products (lot 23); and decontamination solutions (lot 12). It includes fully-leased managed service options. Ensuring optimum protection Now available to the UK Fire Services, the Dräger HPS 7000 firefighter helmet is a multipurpose helmet that ensures optimum protection with an ergonomic fit during every operation. Available in two head sizes to suit a wide range of individual head and face shapes, it is one of the lightest helmets available. The Dräger HPS 7000 includes a high level of operating and wearing comfort With a comfortable interior fitting manufactured from anti-allergic and breathable materials, the Dräger HPS 7000 includes a high level of operating and wearing comfort. The helmet configurator helps to create one’s own individual Dräger firefighter helmet. No matter whether one wants to choose the color, reflective stripes, or the visor – they can customize the HPS 7000 according to their needs. Delivering excellent protection The Dräger HPS 4500, suitable for ambulance personnel, provides a lightweight traditional half-shell helmet with a modern design and a robust outer shell delivering excellent protection against impact and extreme heat. Featuring a modern visor design, the helmet has superior wearer comfort due to ergonomic and lightweight internal components. A comprehensive range of accessories across both the Dräger HPS 7000 and Dräger HPS 4500 range provides versatility across a variety of applications, including helmet communication, lamps, neck, facial, and eye protection. In 2020, Dräger launched the Health for the Firefighter campaign to support the fire services in helping to communicate and provide training on the importance of detailed hygiene processes; from the handling and storage of masks and breathing apparatus (BA) equipment through to the subsequent cleaning of equipment post-incident. Mask cleaning equipment Dräger is the first company in the Emergency Services sector to launch a dedicated BA In addition, Dräger is the first company in the Emergency Services sector to launch a dedicated BA and mask cleaning equipment solution. This includes automated cleaning systems that provide consistency in washing temperatures, detergent dosage, speed, and temperature of drying – which can all work together to remove contaminants for a healthy firefighter and to ensure the longevity of the equipment. All are supported with dedicated national support from installation, to lifetime service and maintenance to ensure minimal downtime. Daniel O’Neill, UK Sales Manager for Emergency & Rescue Services at Dräger commented on the YPO Framework win: “It’s a fantastic endorsement of our commitment to excellence within the emergency services sector. Our dedication to innovate and drive new technologies whilst ensuring maximum safety means Dräger technology priority is to support our Emergency Service’s safety and wellbeing.” Emergency service personnel “For almost 100 years, firefighters all around the world have trusted Dräger for reliable equipment, services, and training that are fit for purpose and based on real-world experience. We are passionate about safety and committed to bettering the future of safety equipment whilst leading the way in integrated technology solutions available to emergency service personnel.” The YPO framework is a UK-wide framework agreement that is available to any eligible UK public sector organization and can be used to procure garments and services both above and below the Official Journal for the European Union (OJEU) threshold.
Dräger, a pioneer in medical and safety technology, is launching its ‘Health for the Firefighter’ campaign to support fire services in driving the cultural changes that are required to protect firefighter health. Impact of exposure The launch follows a survey of UK firefighters that found considerable concern over the impact of exposure to contaminants on long-term health. Some 84% admitted they were concerned about the risk of cancer – a disease highlighted in some scientific reports to be the cause of death within the service. The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) reports that nearly two out of three (61%) firefighter line-of-duty deaths between 2002 and 2017 were caused by cancer. Embedded carcinogens in any equipment can easily be absorbed by the men and women using it. Robust hygiene processes We need to move away from firefighters wearing dirty kit like a badge of honor" The survey by Dräger also found that more than two thirds (68%) of firefighters fear the impact of COVID-19 on their long-term health, a point picked up by Brian Hesler, Consultant and Specialist Advisor at Draeger Safety UK and former Chief Fire Officer for the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service: “The COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing fears over cancer, have highlighted the critical importance of hygiene, and a significant cultural change is required. We need to move away from firefighters wearing dirty kit like a badge of honor that proves their hard work and value, to understanding that clean and well-maintained kit supported by detailed and robust hygiene processes that mitigate every contact with contaminants are essential. One firefighter surveyed said ‘they had always been a bit blasé about invisible contaminants’. This has got to change.” Detailed hygiene processes The Health for the Firefighter campaign will support the fire services in helping to communicate and provide training on the importance of detailed hygiene processes; from the handling and storage of masks and breathing apparatus (BA) equipment through to the subsequent cleaning of the kit after an incident has occurred. It will also provide bespoke workshop solutions that guide the potentially contaminated kit from entering the station, to washing and drying processes through to leaving the station to be used again. In addition to providing detailed advice for manual washing processes including on detergent use and drying techniques, Dräger is the first company in the Emergency Services space to launch specialist BA and mask cleaning equipment and dedicated solutions, including mechanical washing systems that provide complete consistency in washing temperatures, the amount of detergent used, speed and temperature of drying – which can all work together to disinfect contaminants and to protect the longevity of the kit. Mechanical equipment washing However, only 23% said that the pandemic had significantly changed their approach to cleaning equipment Support also encompasses logistical support for installation, the ongoing maintenance of equipment and the quantity of stock required. The survey revealed the most important factors in combating firefighter concerns over contaminants were the cleaning of masks with 97% rating this as very or extremely important, closely followed by the cleaning of BA equipment (95%) and cleaning of PPE (94%). While manual cleaning of equipment is still generally the norm within UK Fire Services, the survey revealed three quarters (75%) believed that mechanical equipment washing would improve their health, and 80% agreed that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic more emphasis should be placed on cleaning equipment and hygiene control. However, only 23% said that the pandemic had significantly changed their approach to cleaning equipment. Responsibility to innovate solutions “There is obvious concern over cleaning of equipment following the pandemic,” adds Brian. “One surveyed firefighter said ‘they clean to the best of their ability’ – the point is that a person’s ability should not be a factor in the cleaning process.” “Consistency has to be key and manufacturers of medical and safety technology products have a responsibility to innovate solutions that support change. We are not here to tell brigades how to operate, rather to provide a range of solutions that support them and their firefighters’ health.”
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