New kits to make for safer firefighting

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Firefighters across the county will be kitted out in new, lighter fire suits to help improve safety, the local authority has said.

Northamptonshire County Council had previously outlined that under the current contract which runs out at the end of June 2014, it pays £280,000 a year for fire kit - known as personal protective equipment (PEE) for crews across Northamptonshire.

The authority has started the search for a new contact and first among the considerations is that the “new fire- fighting textile technology” developments are up-to-datebefore the council will sign off on it.

A report presented to the county council’s cabinet said: “We will ensure that recent research and development of new fire-fighting textile technology and design of the selected PPE is considered, to offer enhanced safety to fire fighters.

“This will include lighter, more comfortable clothing, which offers greater protection from flames and the effects of working in extreme environments.”

Officers said the equipment, which is leased, would not however, cost taxpayers any more money.

The report added: “The key point is that a replacement contract will not cost any more than the current provision, even taking into account inflation.

“It will cost £500 per fire fighter, per year for this provision.

“For Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue, this would currently mean a total of between £2.625m and £2.635m for the life of a 10-year contract.”

The report was rubber stamped when Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet met on Tuesday.

Following the meeting the chief fire officer in consultation with the portfolio holder find and award the most suitable contract to the preferred supplier.