The Fire Service is undertaking a project to replace all 3500 of its current BA sets. Many of the current sets are approaching 18 years old and are becoming more costly to service and maintain. There have also been a number of developments over the last 5-10 years in BA technology and wearer safety functionality that the Fire Service would like to evaluate to see if it has any benefits to our wearers.
This update is designed to inform you of the progress of the project.
The project will see the introduction of:
- a new standard set for all users
- the evaluation of new BA technology for high-use wearers
The Fire Service intends to investigate additional safety features for all wearers, such as voice amplification to enable the wearer to be able to use a radio or communicate with another wearer.
The roll out of the new sets will take a couple of years to complete. It is expected to start in the first part of 2011 and be completed by the end of December 2012.
In conjunction with the roll out of the new sets, there will be a comprehensive training package for the wearers.
As part of the introduction of new equipment, the Fire Service is also looking at how we will maintain and service the new sets. The maintenance requirements of new BA sets have decreased over the last few years and the intervals between major overhauls have increased. There has also been an increase in some parts of the world in "totalcare" solutions where the supplier is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the sets.
The Fire Service will look at all ongoing maintenance options for the new sets and select the one that best meets our future needs.
UFBA ARE INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT
The UFBA are heavily involved in the project, both as a stakeholder and in helping manage the replacement process.
Kerry Ferris, from Stoke, sits on the project's Stakeholder Consultation Group, where the interests of those impacted by the project are represented. Kerry is also a member of the Operational Evaluation Team which is tasked with designing and running the operational evaluation (trial) of the sets. This process will ensure that firefighters - both paid and volunteer - get to have a say on the suitability of the prospective new sets for our needs.
PROGRESS TO DATE
In April, the NZFS issued a Request for Tender (RFT) for the replacement of the 3500 sets, and we received seven tenders from prospective suppliers. This represented an excellent response to our RFT and this level of interest reflects what a major contract this is for the supply market.
The tenders have been subjected to a desktop evaluation using the standard NZFS evaluation process whereby each tender was scored against pre-determined evaluation criteria. Each criteria was weighted to take into account its importance in relation to the others.
The tenderers were also required to submit a sample BA set with their tenders so that we could get a better feel for what was written in the tender document.
As a result of the desktop evaluation process we have a shortlist of sets that will go forward to an operational evaluation (trial).
The operational evaluation process will be used to identify which of the shortlisted sets is most suitable for our needs. It will involve the sets being worn in realistic operational firefighting conditions in order that we can assess their ability to provide the protection and features we look for in a BA set.
The shortlisted sets will be subjected to a 2 stage process - the 1st stage will be for the standard set and the 2nd stage will be for the additional BA technology.
Standard set operational evaluation
This will be as comprehensive and inclusive as is practical, and will be conducted at one location in each region.
The regions will be asked to provide the evaluators for this part of the operational evaluation - both paid and volunteer firefighters.
Additional BA technology evaluation
This evaluation will be held at one location only with a much smaller number of evaluators.
It will focus on the additional BA technology.
Managing the operational evaluation process
The operational evaluation process has been developed and will be run by the Operational Evaluation Team which is made up of the project team and representatives from the NZPFU and the UFBA.
Much like the desktop evaluation, each set will be scored against pre-determined weighted evaluation criteria.
The high level timescales for the project are:
Complete desktop evaluation and identify shortlist
Conduct trial (standard and enhanced set)
August to September 2010
Contract with selected supplier
Commence roll out of new sets
Complete roll out of all new sets
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