Cambridgeshire FRS adopts high-tech PPE solution

Published:  22 July, 2015

Following 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.

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.’ Said joint MD of the company, Roger Startin. Available in several variants, Cambridgeshire had 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.

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 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.’


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