Firefighters across the Yorkshire and Humber region have revealed new, advanced fire kit following a joint procurement deal.
As part of a tri-service agreement, all firefighters in South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and the Humberside region will begin wearing new fire tunics and trousers. For crews in South Yorkshire and Humberside, the personal protective equipment (PPE) revamp will also feature a pioneering, multi-function rescue jacket to reflect the changing role of the modern firefighter.
The kit is currently being rolled out across the three counties to assist firefighters in best protecting local communities. It is a proud moment for all three fire services, who have collaborated in a two year project, resulting in the final contract being awarded to supplier Ballyclare International.
The new fire kit features specially designed knee and elbow panels to make it easier to move and more comfortable to wear as well as innovative new spacer fabric, to improve breathability for those wearing it.
The collaboration means all three services have saved money, enhanced firefighter safety and standardised fire kit regionally.
The PPE underwent rigorous testing back in June 2020, as part of extensive performance trials involving both male and female firefighters from all three services.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Tony Carlin said: “Our operational crews need first-class fire kit in order to respond to a wide range of incidents and protect the residents of South Yorkshire the best we can. Our new kit features the very latest technologies and safety features to ensure that our crews not only have the best protection on the fire ground but have full confidence in their equipment.
“We have a dedication to collaborating however we can with our neighbouring services and this is another clear example of a collaboration project that not only enhances the safety of our firefighters but ensures best value.”
Humberside Fire & Rescue Service Director of Service Delivery Support, Steve Topham said: “This has been a great opportunity to work with our colleagues from across Yorkshire as part of a regional procurement of new structural PPE from Ballyclare International. It has helped us all in making efficiencies and providing our staff with new PPE that improves their safety and comfort while attending incidents.
“Great care was taken to make sure the new PPE provided a better fit for all our staff and provides better breathability when working in hot environments. Our staff will be receiving their new PPE later in August and supports our ongoing aim to provide safer communities, safer firefighters.”
West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service Area Manager, Dave Teggart said “We have worked closely with colleagues from across the Yorkshire and Humber region to purchase our new structural PPE from Ballyclare International.
“The regional procurement shows our commitment to making efficiencies, by reducing duplication and effort.
“The new PPE offers higher levels of protection and wearer comfort to our staff, making them safer than they ever have been.”
Deborah Hudson, Head Designer at Ballyclare said: “At Ballyclare, we recognise firefighters face an ever-expanding range of challenges and new hazards. With this project, we took an innovative design approach to increase protection levels.
“The three layer construction provides excellent protection against heat and flame, while delivering outstanding tensile strength. The lightweight combination provides barriers against heat and quickly moves moisture away from the wearer. This, coupled with the unique 3D structure increases the movement of air throughout the suit providing firefighters with maximum breathability and comfort. To significantly increase the visibility of firefighters in dark conditions we included the world’s first fire retardant and fully launderable phosphorescent tape in the design.
“Another key benefit of the suits are their rugged and reliable construction, allowing them to withstand a rigorous cleaning and maintenance regime without losing their protective qualities. Ballyclare is proud to provide this innovative fire kit to firefighters across Yorkshire and Humberside.”
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue service firefighters will now be wearing the new kit, with firefighters from West Yorkshire and Humberside donning the gear later in the summer.
Fire and rescues services in the UK are now being encouraged to do more collaboratively to drive down the amount spent on essential goods such as frontline equipment and workwear.
The Policing & Crime Act 2017 also received Royal Assent on 31 January 2017, placing a new statutory duty on emergency services to look at opportunities to work collaboratively.