New 'multi-purpose' uniforms help put out fires across Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 19:27 22 May 2019 | UPDATED: 19:27 22 May 2019
SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL
Firefighters across the county have been kitted out with state-of-the-art uniforms, coupled with three brand new appliances, in a drive to make Suffolk safer.
With a lightweight, tailored design, the uniforms will help fire crews tackle everything from rescues to road accidents - as they adapt to ever-changing demands.
The new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) saw its first action on May 1, as firefighters responded to reports of a washing machine fire near Bury St Edmunds.
Suffolk County Council says the new clothing is more lightweight, comfortable and tailored, including specific designs for men and women - and works out as better value for money.
Three new fire appliances are also being rolled out, to be based at Framlingham, Holbrook and Long Melford fire stations.
Mark Hardingham, Suffolk's chief fire officer, said the kit will help fire crews tackle a host of different emergencies.
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"A firefighter's role has changed a great deal in recent times," he said.
"In the last year, over a third of emergency incidents we attended were not actually fire-related. These included events such as road traffic collisions and rescues of both animals and people, from water or height.
"The new multi-purpose uniforms will allow our firefighters to adapt to the ever-changing demands on them."
It is the first major upgrade to firefighters' equipment since 2011.
Richard Rout, cabinet member for environment and public protection, added: "This is an excellent example of what can be achieved when services across multiple local authorities work collaboratively.
"We worked in consortium with 12 other fire services across the country, to create an efficient and cost-effective way of purchasing the equipment, ensuring that Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is at the forefront of PPE.
"This is part of our ongoing programme of investment to make sure our firefighters have the best available tools for the job, whilst improving their safety and wellbeing. Despite the ongoing financial challenges, our priority is keeping our staff and Suffolk safe."
The old uniforms will be returned to their previous supplier, where they are recycled and often exported abroad, predominantly to countries in Africa.