Fire crews near you are now sporting shiny new uniforms.
The top of the range kit has been unveiled by Kent's service following a two-year consultation.
The new winch kit being demonstrated by Kent firefighters
Among the items are a helmet that can withstand heavy impacts and temperatures of more than 300C and a lightweight winch for cliff rescues.
The new winches are able to hoist up to three people to safety from vast drops.
Designed by sailboat manufacturer Harken the kit weighs less than the previous equipment and therefore can be carried by a single crew member.
It means crews faced with casualties who may have fallen up to 200 metres no longer have to rely on nearby 4x4s and can set the system up wherever there is an anchor point.
Firefighters model their new uniforms
Deal Crew Manager and member of the technical line rescue team Dan Yates said: “They’re much easier to use during a rescue. Instead of having to use a pulley system where greater physical activity and space is required, these winches are lightweight and can be used remotely, as well as in constricted areas.
“Now we have greater flexibility to set-up the new winches wherever there is a safe anchor point. We have a number of cliff faces along the Kent coast, including Folkestone which sits at 200m high, and with these winches, the team will be able to pull both a casualty and a rescuer to safety with greater ease.”
Alongside the winches a new uniform, trialled over two years by 23 volunteers from 11 services, has been unveiled.
Kent led the consultation and its crews are among the first to be wearing the new clothing.
The revamped set, which is due to be rolled out to 30,000 firefighters nationwide from tomorrow, features lightweight fabric with improved mobility and additional heat protection.
There are also plans for durable search and rescue clothing.
Assistant director for operational response Chris Colgan, who took a lead role in the trial, said: “This is has been an extensive and thorough project, which Kent has been proud to steer.
“The end result is a high performance PPE set that will enhance the safety and efficiency of our firefighters that is also cost effective, with crews across the country wearing the same uniform.”
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