Headlines: February 2nd, 2007



The national body set up to handle equipment procurement for Fire Services across England has awarded its first major contracts. Firebuy Ltd., which was established in April last year as part of the drive for efficiency and closer operational working between the 46 services, has issued the contacts for a range of pumping appliances.

Firebuy says the vehicles will offer significant advantages in standardisation and flexibility as well as being environmentally friendly. The Fire Service Minister, Angela Smith, said the move was a further demonstration of the Government’s commitment to ensuring fire and rescue services had equipment tested to meet the demands of today’s world.

The vehicles, the first of which will be on the road by the autumn, will be capable of being fitted with the latest technology as part of the FireControl project, which will provide information about the scene of a fire or other emergency direct to the vehicle’s cab. Standardisation of compliance, warranties and spares across the contracts will mean individual services will be able to order vehicles of different specifications carrying different equipment to meet the varying needs of urban and rural locations. They will be environmentally friendly in terms of emissions and fuel consumption and 85 per cent of components will be recyclable.

The contracts have gone to six Britrish companies that beat off international competition. The successful firms are based in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Cambridgeshire, Lancashire, Surrey and West Yorkshire. Liz Barron, who chairs Firebuy, said the contracts represented a big leap forward for procurement in the fire and rescue service and meant that individual services could buy using the contracts in the knowledge that stringent procurement and research and development processes had already been completed.