Greater Manchester Firefighters Fire and Rescue Service, one of the largest in the country, announced its ground breaking decision to adopt Bristol Uniforms innovative LayerFlex layered PPE design in 2014 in one of the largest PPE contracts awarded during the last 5 years. The decision to become the first fire and rescue service to adopt this innovative PPE solution reflects the progressive approach being seen across both public and private sectors in Manchester, which has placed it at the heart of the economic growth and development taking place across the north of England.
Greater Manchester Firefighters number 1600 firefighters, located at 41 fire stations and serving over 2.5 million people across the Greater Manchester area, have now been fully equipped with their new kit which is visually quite different from the firefighter clothing worn previously. A striking feature of the RescueFlex™ Jacket is the Hi-visibility red fabric outer layer of this garment which is designed to be used in all non-structural fire situations. Incorporating a Gore Crosstech® SR moisture barrier, it is part of the three-garment ensemble which, together, form a trio of protective garments able to provide firefighter protection for structural, technical rescue and wildland firefighting.
The other two garments are a structural XFlex™ Outer Jacket and an XFlex™ Trouser. By using the XFlex™ Outer Jacket over the RescueFlex™ Jacket, full EN 469:2005 Level 2 protection is achieved. The RescueFlex™ Jacket meets Wildland Standard EN15164:2007 Code Letter A1; Hi-Visibility Standard EN20471:2013 Class 3 and Industrial (Protective Clothing against Heat and Flame) Standard EN11612:2008.
Greater Manchester FRS has selected an XFlex™ Outer Jacket incorporating a Pbi Matrix® outer layer with a thermal barrier. The XFlex™ Trouser combines a Pbi Matrix® outer layer with a Gore Crosstech® Fireblocker moisture barrier and thermal barrier.
Commenting on this major development for both Bristol and Greater Manchester, Roger Startin, Bristol’s joint Managing Director, said, “This major contract with Greater Manchester Firefighters is yet another milestone in the journey we have taken in recent years to help fire & rescue services fundamentally re-assess their firefighter protection needs and come up with entirely new PPE solutions. The changed economic climate of the last 5 years has made efficiency savings at all levels essential. By thinking laterally, Bristol and Greater Manchester have found a solution which not only ticks all the boxes but has the potential to usher in a generational shift in the way fire & rescue services approach firefighter personal protection”.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority Chair, Councillor David Acton, said: “We began this project when the Service found itself at an impasse regarding the suitability and availability of PPE for today’s modern fire and rescue service role.
“Following an evaluation exercise that included four tenders we chose to move forward with Bristol and worked closely with them to develop a solution for our changing needs.
“Our new PPE has been designed to be breathable and more ergonomically fitted and can be repaired more easily and efficiently due to having replaceable panels. The layered approach means that the kit is fit for purpose and aligned to incident types and roles at those incidents, with the whole life cost of the kit reduced by this approach.
“It’s been a really exciting project to be involved in – the kit is now being used operationally across GMFRS and firefighters and officers have given us positive feedback. The project has also attracted significant interest from other fire and rescue services across the UK.”
For more information about Bristol Uniforms or Bristol’s managed services please contact either:
Roger Startin, Bristol Uniforms on 0117 956 3101 or email [email protected] or Richard Storey, RSL Associates on 07970 863251 or email [email protected]