Norfolk's firefighters will have a new look in the New Year with a change of uniform.
Chosen by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service staff the new dark blue uniform with red detail is being rolled out to fire stations across the county over the next few weeks.
Roy Harold, Assistant Chief Fire Officer for Norfolk, said: "Our existing uniforms were provided through a contract which expired several years ago. This time round our new workwear uniform has been replaced through the National Fire Service Integrated Clothing Project (ICP). It is designed specifically to complement our firefighting kit and is part of the same procurement.
"We've tested the costs of this integrated programme against alternative suppliers and this is the only available contract with prices limited to the Retail Prices Index. Fabric costs have gone up substantially in the last few years and we risked price hikes of up to 30 percent if we stayed in the open market. The ICP contract gives us a higher degree of certainty over future costs and is designed specifically to save money for fire services."
Nigel Dixon, Cabinet Member for Community Protection, said: "I am sure, like all change, the new look will take people a little time to get used to but the combination has been chosen by our staff and I am sure we will soon all get used to it. Signing the contract protects us from likely high price rises on the open market and therefore protects the public purse, which is obviously a crucial part of all current thinking."
Nigel Williams, Chief Fire Officer wearing the new uniform in front of Hethersett Fire Station
The new uniform has been bought within existing annual clothing budget and will be worn by all frontline staff, including all senior officers. Staff were fully involved in voting for the colour combinations. The uniform lasts a minimum of 18 months, is only replaced on a needs must basis and an on-line ordering system will substantially reduce administration overheads.
Designed as a national uniform for fire services, Norfolk is one of many services moving across to this particular design as existing contracts expire. So far around fourteen fire services have adopted the new look.
Norfolk's volunteer Community Safety Advisors and other staff who work directly with the public will all be wearing variants of the uniform provided through the same contract and it is hoped this will help the public recognise fire service personnel more readily.