The signing of a 5-year lease agreement with Birmingham International Airport will see the airport’s 64 firefighters being equipped with new, state-of-the-art, head-to-toe protective clothing from July this year.
Following an extensive trial period, during which alternative firefighter PPE options were put through a range of tests, BHX Fire & Rescue Ltd, which provides fire cover for the airport, selected Bristol Uniforms XFlex structural fire kit to meet their needs for the period to 2019.
Recently a sizing process has been undertaken during which every firefighter has been measured to make sure that their new garments, allocated individually, fit exactly to ensure maximum protection. The process also ensures that there is full compatibility with the other head-to-toe garments, which will include flashoods, helmets, boots and gloves.
The outer layer of the new kit is a Hainsworth TITAN 1260 fabric which is a PBI/Meta and Para-Aramid blend combining the benefits of both fibres. The PBI Gold fibres combine with the blue Meta-Aramid threads to give the garment a unique visual impact. The moisture barrier is Gore‘s CROSSTECH Fireblocker. Hainsworth’s ECO-dry Active thermal barrier,a combination of Nomex with wool, provides a natural antibacterial moisture management system and enhanced wearer comfort.
Underlining the flexibility of the procurement options available from Bristol, BHX have chosen to take the complete PPE package under a 5-year lease contract during which time Bristol will provide managed services to fully maintain all the garments. This will include washing, repair and, where required, decontamination. At the end of the contract period ownership of the PPE will pass to BHX.
Paul Ankrett, Birmingham’s Airport Fire Manager, said: ‘For aviation firefighting you cannot underestimate the importance of quality PPE for firefighters; it is an area that we will never compromise on. After meeting with other fire clothing manufacturers it is apparent that this area of industry has come on leaps and bounds over the years and there is much on offer with regard to fire fighter protection. However we chose Bristol firefighting PPE both for its superior ergonomic quality and the support service that goes along with their products. We also know that Bristol have a track record for their quality and support service within this industry and so we look forward to working with them over the next five years.’
Philip Tasker, Bristol’s UK Sales Manager, added: ‘We believe that to maintain our position as a leading global manufacturer of firefighter PPE we need to offer both flexibility in the range of products we offer as well as the means by which our customers can acquire their PPE. By offering different finance options, customers can, as BHX has shown, opt to lease as an alternative to outright purchase, but through a scheme which will provide for ownership at the end of the contract. This flexibility also adds to the ease of either extending contracts, or setting up new ones, at a time when procurement environments may have changed and a different option may be preferred.’