New breathing apparatus for Hertfordshire firefighters

Published: 01 Mar 2018

Hertfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service has rolled out new breathing apparatus (BA) to be used by firefighters across the county.

Following an 18-month period of trial and evaluation of different products by operational firefighters, Interspiro were awarded the contract for Hertfordshire in October 2017.

The new BA sets apply technological solutions to existing safety features and some new innovative solutions to assist firefighters when they need to wear breathing apparatus for tackling fires.

The Team Talk feature allows individual crew members to communicate directly with each other using the built-in communication system. Previously, radios were standalone equipment meaning the wearer had to fight through surrounding environmental noise to make sure their messages were clearly received.

Other features that have benefited from modern developments include:

·       a built-in Automatic Distress Signal Unit, which sounds a warning alarm if the wearer has become immobile (potentially through injury or unconsciousness), or if the wearer needs to summon immediate assistance, and

·       an on-board computer which monitors and checks the equipment as well as automatically calculating the available air and the estimated time that a firefighter can spend within the risk area.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Steve Tant said: “The new BA sets are at the cutting edge of technological advancement, they were chosen by the firefighters after rigorous testing and evaluation of their capabilities, I am confident that the features of this set  will make our firefighters safer on the job.”

“We look forward to a long and happy working relationship with Interspiro.”

Deputy Cabinet Member for Community Safety at Hertfordshire County Council, Colin Woodward, said: “We want to make sure our firefighters have the equipment they need to do their jobs safely and effectively. This is just one example of how we are investing in our fire service so they can keep Hertfordshire residents safe.”

Crews across the county have now been trained on the new equipment, so the new sets will be rolled out from February 2018.