Spring 2012

1200 fire service brigade outfits for Shropshire

TenCate Protective Fabrics has won  an important order from the British producer FlamePro (UK) Ltd, for the delivery of inherently heat and flame resistant materials for the structural fire fighter clothing for Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service in the U.K.

This 5-year contract employs a new  a new lightweight system, the TenCate Tecasystem™ Millenia 450, in the construction for more than 1200 fire service brigade outfits. The first 300 outfits are expected to be handed over in June 2012.

The specification required a durable fire fighting suit with less maintenance costs and better protection against the risk of heat stress. Producer FlamePro (UK) Ltd has developed a new Flamepro® fire fighting suit based on advanced TenCate materials. TenCate Tecasystem™ Millenia 450 is the lightest, strongest protection system available in the market that meets the strict requirements of the European Norm EN 469/AC: 2005, level 2.

Kevan Whitehead, end-use market manager of TenCate Protective Fabrics, explains: ‘Shropshire fire fighters will benefit from a light and comfortable fire fighting suit yet still be protected in the extreme conditions experienced in a raging inferno. Fire fighters also turn out to a wide variety of other emergencies including road traffic collisions, hazardous materials, food’s and terrorist incidents. These various situations require multifunctional clothing that is lightweight, comfortable, strong  and protective.’

Research demonstrated that, compared with the existing garments,  the new fire suit based on TenCate Tecasystem™ - Millenia 450 requires 25 per cent less body energy, offers good protection against the danger of heat, and offers greater comfort and freedom of movement.

'Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service are a small UK Brigade (around 600 firefighters) who are very proud of their independent thinking and innovation', says Kevan Whitehead. 'Ideally they needed a fire suit, which was capable of “ticking many boxes”  Shropshire produced an exacting tender specification which included weight, robustness and repair capabilities. The suit had to perform in the extremes of a compartment fire, be robust enough to withstand mechanical damage at Road Traffic Accidents and be light & comfortable enough when dealing with wildland fires.

The final suit exceeded Level 2 of EN 469 when subjected to heat and flame testing, the whole suit weighs less than 2.5Kg (the equivalent of 2.5 litres of water !) and the outershell fabric “Millenia 9180” is virtually indestructible – repair costs are likely to be none existent .'

This is the first order in the UK for a major, professional fire & rescue service. There are over 50-Brigades in the UK employing around 45,000 professional firefighters. 'The logic employed by Shropshire and their focus on both performance and full life costs will influence positively fire service officers and the politicians who need to justify budgets. Already, we are hearing of interest from other UK Brigades and the reference is also important for brigades further afield. The rest of the world watches the UK and Europe.'

Blue fabric (Tecawork Blue 65287)