Saturday, July 13, 2024

New locally-made uniforms for CFA volunteers


Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteers across Victoria are set to get new, locally-made uniforms that will provide better protection from heat thanks to funding from the Victorian Government.

Minister for Emergency Services, Jaclyn Symes (pictured, below) visited Stewart & Heaton today to tour the local manufacturer which will deliver the new wildfire personal protective clothing (PPC) to Victorian firefighters.

“Our CFA volunteers go above and beyond every day to protect Victorians – we’re proud to deliver this new uniform that will help to protect them while they perform their important work,” said Minister Symes.

“CFA members shaped this new clothing, which means it’s custom made to fit their needs and be comfortable in difficult conditions – all while being locally made.”

The roll out of the wildfire PPC is supported by the Government’s $126 million CFA Capability Funding package, with $10.85 million going towards the production of up to 29,000 sets of state-of-the-art protective clothing.

The PPC will be manufactured through Stewart & Heaton, which will support local business and create 15 new jobs and support a further 15 existing roles.

Providing an improved level of protection from radiant heat and heat-related illness, the new gear will feature CFA’s iconic yellow but will be made of lighter weight materials with better design for function and comfort.

The PPC is specifically tailored for both men and women, ensuring a safe and comfortable fit for all volunteers.

The jackets will feature a new epaulette holder on the chest area, reinforced elbow patches, front-top and lower pockets on both sides and radio pockets along the side seam. The protective trousers incorporate elastic back waistbands with large belt loops, two back pockets and hip pockets.

Manufactured using Hainsworth Eco-Dry Shield woven fabric, the garments have an inherent fire-retardant performance to provide benefits to firefighters including comfort, ease of movement and breathability.

The PPC will be provided to eligible members in addition to existing wildfire PPC, meaning recipients can continue to use their current wildfire PPC in addition to the new garments.

South Australia Country Fire Service in ECO-DRY Shield.

ECO-DRY Shield has been the fabric of choice for South Australia’s wildland firefighting PPE since 2019. The Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) first started wearing Stewart & Heaton garments made with ECO-DRY Shield in 2018, followed by the CFS representing rural South Australia a year later.

“We’ve been delighted with the way that ECO-DRY Shield has performed as part of our wildland ensemble,” says Stephen Boucher.

With the staggered rollout expected to begin in the coming months, the design of the PPC was informed by consultation with volunteers providing input on what they wanted to see in their new uniforms.

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