Industrial Fire Journal - Fire & Rescue - Hemming Group Ltd
Bristol Uniforms expands
Published:  10 January, 2017

PPE clothing manufacturer Bristol Uniforms has significantly expanded its managed services department recruiting several new members of staff and substantially increasing the capacity of its service centres.

Bristol’s two Service Centres in Staple Hill in Bristol and Rainham in London have welcomed new machinists to assist with inspection and repairs, along with new warehouse operators and drivers. The Western Service Centre in Staple Hill has also almost doubled in floor space and has undergone a thorough re-organisation in order to increase capacity.  

The expansion comes at a time when the cleaning of firefighter PPE is a hot topic within the industry, with the emergence of research which appears to link the contamination of garments to higher incidences of cancer among firefighters on the front line.

Bristol employs its own delivery drivers to collect soiled or damaged garments from fire and rescue services around the UK, in a fleet of liveried vans. The garments are transported to one of the two Service Centres for thorough cleaning, inspection and repair, and are then returned to the customer within a guaranteed seven days. The centres handle up to 3,500 items of PPE every week. Barcodes on each item provide Bristol with a thorough record of its life-journey from the date of manufacture, the specific rolls of fabric that were used to create it, and each wash and repair.

The Service Centres are also equipped to treat contaminated PPE, which have been exposed to toxic or hazardous materials and need to be cleaned in a specially controlled environment.  

The recent increase in floor space and staff has enabled Bristol to take on additional customers and provided capacity for further expanding this area of the business. A new 10-year lease contract with Cambridgeshire FRS to service uniforms for 500 operational members of staff will be handled by the Service Centre in Rainham. Similarly, the Staple Hill Centre is handling new maintenance contracts with South & West Wales, Mid & West Wales and North Wales FRSs, servicing 17,000 items of kit for more than 2,800 firefighters in total.

Service Operations Director, Edward Shepherd commented: ‘By expanding our team and our workspace, we can ensure that our customers receive a guaranteed quick turn-around, with no compromise on quality and safety.

‘At Bristol, we pride ourselves on literally knowing our garments inside and out. We design and manufacture them to a very high standard, and take this attention-to-detail through to cleaning and maintenance to ensure that each and every item of clothing is fully operational before going back out into the field.

‘We employ our own specialist staff for every step of this process, from the designers to the machinists to the delivery drivers, so that we have full control at all times and can provide the quality and reliability our customers require.’

Roger Startin, Joint Managing Director, added: ‘This recent expansion reflects Bristol’s commitment to Managed Services as an increasingly important part of our business. We are committed to ensuring our uniforms continue to deliver for our customers well beyond initial sales.’