What to look for when specifying new kit
If you’re responsible for the firefighting kit for your fire and rescue service, it can be a vast undertaking and knowing what to look for when specifying new kit is critical. Staying up to date with the latest technology and products will help keep the firefighters in your services safe, preventing injury and even death.
It’s a complex task and one that state brigades usually only undertake every eight years or so. You’ll need to familiarise yourself with standards, lab test results, types of fabric, and strike a balance between comfort and safety. It’s a huge responsibility and one taken seriously by every buyer we’ve advised.
The right kit at the right time
If essential kit is damaged, you’ll want a replacement ASAP to make sure your firefighters are safe and prepared for the next call. Unfortunately, the industry has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to order lead times that meet customer expectations. Far from the next day delivery we’re used to in our personal lives, the industry standard for delivery of firefighting kit is still 12-18 weeks. That’s a long time to be waiting on life-preserving kit!
At FlamePro, we manufacture in Europe and keep items in stock. If you’re ordering standard items, you can expect to receive them in just a few days. Made to order items are guaranteed within 6-8 weeks, halving the industry standard and making sure you have what you need when you need it.
Balancing comfort and effectiveness
If your crew are spending several hours working hard in all weathers, comfort will be key, but knowing the situations firefighters face, there can be no compromise on safety. When specifying kit, it’s essential that your crew member can say it feels good on their back. This is where looking at user trials rather than just test results can give you the best kind of information.
Structural suits are heavy. And with 31 per cent of call outs being non-fire related incidents, over specifying on heat resistance can mean kit is heavier to wear than necessary, making it hotter and subjecting firefighters to unnecessary heat stress.
The right kit for the task
While state crews are fighting fires on 28% of calls, private crews – at airports and petrochemical sites, for example – spend the majority of their time rescuing people from heights and other non-fire call outs.
It’s important, therefore, to consider what your firefighters need. While a full structural kit will always be an essential for those call outs that do involve fire, the second kit could be a lightweight kit that provides protection against the elements, but is easier and more comfortable to wear when not working in intense heat.
When specifying your kit, consider what your crew does the most and what they need to keep them safe and comfortable when they’re doing it. Do you only need one type of turnout kit, or would a couple of versions give your crews the flexibility they need?
There is a lot to consider when choosing the right suit for your firefighters. Like, whether or not there is enough heat resistance, or whether you want a more breathable option. Using our performance grading scales you’ll be able to easily find the suit for you. You can learn about the fabrics which make up each suit too. We know it’s important that you make the right choice.
If you would like any further advice on what to look for when specifying your new firefighting kit don’t hesitate to get in touch or call one of our experts on +44 (0) 1332 341030.