A long time ago, in an economy far, far away… [Really can’t do this without the scrolling… Ed.] Many British and Commonwealth (among other) soldiers and law enforcement officials grew up with the Remploy Frontline garments, the CR1, Quickdon, MarkIV or Mark IVa. Remploy was a government charity that had, originally, been designed for servicemen wounded in WW1 to get gainful employment. In time it grew to include individuals with a variety of disabilities that were given employment, and hope, by Remploy, which had a range of products in addition to the assembly of their protective suits. Remploy Frontline was one of the few profitable areas of this business, yet despite this it faced the axe in the light of new policy from the government on the employment of disabled people. To a certain amount of disappointment (and a certain amount of rejoicing from their competitors) Remploy Frontline was shut down, and their customers needed to look elsewhere for their PPE, many of whom went to Belgian company, Seyntex, for example.
Now, however, that celebration might be short-lived as Remploy Frontline products make their way back to UK shores through the work of Haven Protective Technology Solutions and their new Australian partner OPEC CBRNe. Their new products are going to be on show next week at the UK’s DSEi show on stand S10-210. “OPEC CBRNe is immensely proud to be able to partner with Haven to continue to provide a range of products for the next generation of military and first responders,” said OPEC CBRNe Business Development Manager, Chris Jackson. “We know there is great appreciation in the market for the return of this renowned range, and we are delighted that the good work of this social enterprise in providing meaningful employment for disabled people can continue under the OPEC CBRNe brand,” he said.
The ‘Kestrel’ and ‘Phoenix’ ensembles will be the new flagships of the OPEC CBRNe brand and claim to be the progeny of ‘decades of robust research and development, complemented by integration of the markets latest cutting edge technologies and an appreciation of today’s complex military environment.’ The Kestrel claims to be 30% lighter than current (unnamed) systems and as such able to deal with a high heat environment, it also claims to offer “long term comfort, breathability and ease of movement in a high threat environment.”
Kestrel was chosen by the Australian government as their preferred CBRN ensemble in December last year, and will be joined at the show by the one piece Kestrel PPE. In addition to this there is the semi permeable membrane system, the ‘Roc’ [Dwayne ‘Moana’ Johnson? Ed], which claims to be ‘high protection, quick donning CBRN uniform suitable for first responder wear, such as police, ambulance and fire services.’
OPEC Systems, has been operating in the CBRN space since 1998 as a major supplier of CBRN equipment and a respected contractor for clean-up of contaminated chemical weapons sites.
Haven states on its website (www.havenproducts.co.uk/our-services/textile-manufacturing) that it provides opportunities to disabled people and we are currently awaiting further information from the press office on exactly what this means in regard to the PPE.