A Huddersfield company has landed a £6m contract to supply helmets to firefighters across the UK – and describes the new helmet as more Starship Troopers than Fireman Sam.
Meltham-based Rosenbauer UK – best known for supplying futuristic fire appliances to brigades across the country – will now supply its latest HEROS-titan helmet to more than a score of fire and rescue services.
Managing director Oliver North said recent events, including the Grenfell Tower tragedy, had highlighted the dangers faced by firefighters and the importance of protecting them as much as possible.
Recalling the old-style fireman’s helmet of the 1960s, he said: “Today it’s more Starship Troopers than Fireman Sam. The old-style helmet was made of cork and it was only when their ears started to blister that the firemen knew it was getting too hot to hang around. Now they have sensors on their breathing apparatus.”
The helmet has been specified as part of a new Personal Protective Equipment contract – also involving West Country firm Bristol Uniforms – following 18 months of trials involving 25 fire brigades at the Fire Service College in Gloucestershire.
The tests included putting the helmet on a mannikin and subjecting the helmet to a 10-second burst of flames at temperatures of 1,000˚C from all angles.
Despite the heat, the “head” temperature for a firefighter wearing the helmet did not exceed 35˚C.
Rosenbauer expects to assemble and supply 26,000 HEROS-titan helmets over the next two years as part of an eight-year contract which will also include periodic inspections and refurbishment of the headgear.
The public sector contract, known as the Collaborative PPE Framework, supersedes the South East Consortium which, for the past eight years, had used Rosenbauer UK’s HEROS-xtreme fire helmet.
Mr North said firefighter helmets had formed the basis of the company well before it increased its share of the market for fire appliances.
He said: “This means our fire helmet is always prioritised to the same level as our world-class truck portfolio.”
Mr North added: “We’re relishing a strong and efficient working relationship with Bristol Uniforms as we look forward to commencing the roll-outs and ensuring the back-up and service remains at the highest achievable standard.”
Rosenbauer UK Ltd, part of the Austrian-based Rosenbauer Group, assembles vehicles such as the £700,000 Rosenbauer Panther, used at a number of UIK airports, and the Rosenbauer Stinger, which features an extendable boom capable of throwing water more than 100 metres at a rate of 6,000 litres a minute.