Page last updated at 16:43 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

New red uniforms for firefighters

New red uniform
The new red suit is lighter and more flexible

Firefighters in the Lothians and Borders are to receive new red uniforms as part of a £250,000 makeover.

They will be the first in Scotland to wear the lighter, more flexible suit before it is rolled out across the country in 2010.

About 1,100 firefighters will be kitted out in the gear by the end of December.

They will wear it for non-fire-related emergencies - such as vehicle crashes and mountain rescues - that do not require thermal protective kit.

The traditional gold suit, which is denser and heavier, will be kept for fires.

John Dickie, head of operations at Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, said the change was needed because of the wide variety of roles now undertaken by the service.

He said: "As the scope of the firefighter's role has evolved, more and more of our work involves incidents other than attending fires in buildings.

"This new uniform can be used when attending road traffic collisions, urban search and rescue, and grass fires.

"It's lighter and more flexible, meaning that crews will have more freedom of movement when working."

The uniform is specially designed for outside work. It is still flame retardant but will also be resistant to punctures.

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: "We felt the gold uniform was not efficient for long periods of time and, in the long term, we will save money using the red suit because we will not have to replace the more expensive and high maintenance gold outfit as often."

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