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Firefighters to breathe easy with new equipment

Published
13.04.2016

Next week, cabinet is being asked to approve a recommendation for new state of the art equipment for Gloucestershire's firefighters to help them stay safe when fighting fires.

The county's fire service is on the look out for new breathing apparatus to meet new national guidance to ensure that crews have the best possible tools when they're risking their lives and saving others.

Previous guidance on standards for this equipment and working processes dates back to 1997 and a decision was taken by the industry to raise these standards to ensure the safety of crews and to take into account significant technological advancements in breathing apparatus.

Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service (GFRS) is asking the county council's cabinet on Wednesday 20th April to agree to approve a recommendation to go to tender to secure new state of the art breathing apparatus, which could include extra functions like improved communications between incident controllers and extra monitoring software to safeguard firefighters in dark, smoke filled buildings. This will allow then to concentrate on performing their task and to improve the safety for both firefighters and the public.

If approved, the fire service will go through a procurement process to ensure it gets the best value for money in securing the new equipment and a contract will be awarded to the chosen supplier.

As part of the procurement process, GFRS will run a 'mini competition' between suppliers of breathing apparatus, following the same process as Avon and Somerset Fire Service in their own tender.

This will involve trialling the equipment in training scenarios, carrying out tests with the county's firefighters to gauge their feedback, as well as discussing with colleagues at other services that use the apparatus for their feedback.

Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire and infrastructure, said: "We have one of the best and most efficient fire services in the country, and this is in no small part down to the excellent crews we have in Gloucestershire.

"It is important to make sure our firefighters are able to continue with their first class service, in a safe manner, by ensuring they have first class equipment at their disposal."

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Andy Hermiston said: "The use of essential breathing apparatus equipment is one of the core fire fighter competencies, and the new guidance has been developed to make sure our firefighters are as safe as they can be when keeping the people of Gloucestershire safe.

"With an increased focus in firefighter safety and incredible advancements in technology, it is only right that we invest in new equipment.

"This procurement process will allow us to secure the most up to date, cutting edge equipment available to help keep the public and our fire crews safe."

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