Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service’s New Fire Kits

In 2009, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service became the first in the country to choose the latest technology from DuPont and Hainsworth for its new fire fighting kit.

Manufactured by Bristol Uniforms the new fire kit for Nottinghamshire is made of TITAN® fabric which incorporates the renowned fibers DuPont™ Nomex® and DuPont™ Kevlar®.

After 20 years of their previous style kit, 950 fire fighters from Nottinghamshire were able to don their new PPE that consist of red/grey trousers and tunics and a new jet style helmet designed to give greater protection. In addition to the new design, the kit offers greater comfort to the 27 female fire fighters by having dedicated male and female styles.

Clothing Fire and Rescue Services

The TITAN® fire kits are procured outside the Government’s Integrated Clothing Project (ICP). The ICP, managed by Fire Buy, is the first national procurement project for clothing Fire and Rescue Services (FRS). The aim of the project is to deliver, via a single service provider, a complete range of clothing designed specifically for FRS staff, including protective clothing that offers comprehensive protection for firefighters.

“We carried out a variety of independent trials and these confirmed that the TITAN® kit performed extremely well, offering comfort and ease of movement for all our fire fighters,” said Frank Swann, Chief Fire Officer, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service. “As CFO I have a responsibility to invest in the best possible equipment and clothing that keep our fire fighters safe whilst still being able to carry out their activities.”

Speaking about the new kits, Group Manager Trevor Tarlton-Weatherall explained: “Our previous style fire kit in Nottinghamshire had been in use for the past 19 years, so this represents a massive change, for both us and the way the public will see us at incidents. The new kit is lighter and more breathable, and therefore more comfortable than our previous kit, but offers even greater protection from fire.”

He continues: “Our old kit was good and has given long service but, because of the new technology now available from DuPont and Hainsworth, the new kit is significantly better. The comfort and well-being of our fire fighters is of paramount importance to us. The kit has undergone rigorous testing in which it has performed extremely well. I am confident that our fire fighters will feel the benefit of the new kits.”

Selection based on testing and evaluation

The new TITAN® kits, which will serve well into the next decade, were selected from a number of potential kits following rigorous testing and evaluation, including trials by Brigade operational staff. Every element of the new kit has been designed to integrate with each other and the new kit is fully compatible with all other equipment used by the Brigade at incidents such as breathing apparatus and chemical protection suits.

George Farenden, a fire protective clothing specialist at DuPont in the UK with 30 years of first-hand experience as an operational firefighter, explains the benefits of this innovative fabric: “TITAN® fabric incorporates Nomex® fibre, that, due to its unique combination of flame protection and durability, is worn by more than three million fire fighters around the world. Nomex® can withstand intense heat and flame for an extended period and will not melt or drip onto skin if engulfed in flash fire. Because it doesn’t support combustion in the air, it means that once removed from flame or heat, it self-extinguishes, which gives fire fighters extra time to escape unscathed from the immediate danger.”

Talking about the unique construction of the TITAN® fabric, Charlotte Brandt, Sales Manager of Hainsworth Protective Fabrics, adds: “It is made of a patented double cloth construction, with DuPont™ Nomex® on the face to provide optimal thermal protection, abrasion resistance and colour fastness, and DuPont™ Kevlar® on the back to provide strength. The fabric system reacts to extreme heat as experienced in flash fire conditions. When exposed to intense heat or flame, the Nomex® consolidates causing the Kevlar® to ripple and remain undamaged. The rippled Kevlar® creates air pockets that offer the garment wearer greater thermal insulation when it is most needed. The fabric is complemented by Hainsworth’s REPEL+ fire finish, which meets the chemical protection and spray rating requirements of EN469:2005, even after repeated laundering.”

Charlotte continues: “The combination of the protective fibres and the construction of the fabric makes the kit one of the safest, most comfortable and most sophisticated protective clothing systems in the world. This affords wearers the confidence of knowing that their clothing will offer the high level of protection their 999 call requires.”

TITAN® is a registered trademark of A.W. Hainsworth & Sons Ltd.