DMFD14 Renewal of Rapid Intervention Sets

Type of decision: 
Deputy Mayor for Fire decision
Date signed: 
20 November 2018
Decision by: 
Fiona Twycross, Deputy Mayor, Fire and Resilience

Executive summary

London Fire Brigade fire appliances carry essential powered cutting equipment known as Rapid Intervention Sets to facilitate with the extrication of casualties from road traffic collisions. Report LFC-0076x to the London Fire Commissioner seeks approval to place orders under the Vehicles and Equipment contract with Babcock Emergency Services, for the replacement of the London Fire Brigade’s Rapid Intervention Sets, with associated vehicle modifications, at a cost not exceeding £1,250,000, to be funded from within the approved capital programme for 2018/19.


The Deputy Mayor for Fire and Resilience approves the award of a contract for the provision of Rapid Intervention Sets to Babcock Emergency Services Limited, within the parameters set out in report LFC-0076x to the London Fire Commissioner.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Rapid Intervention Sets (RIS) are essential equipment used for cutting and managing vehicles involved in road traffic collisions to facilitate the extrication of casualties. RIS are stored on frontline appliances and are powered by combustion engines. The current suite is coming to the end of its serviceable life and is due for renewal.

Report LFC-0076x to the London Fire Commissioner outlines the process that has been undertaken to identify the most appropriate replacement equipment and seeks permission to place orders and draw-down on funds from the previously agreed £1.558m by the Resources Committee of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA)—the Commissioner’s predecessor fire authority for Greater London (report FEP 2508).

There have been significant technical advances in this type of equipment in recent years, enabling the Commissioner to undertake a procurement tendering process to identify a battery-powered RIS. This is to:

• Reduce the risk of high-pressure oil injection to operational personnel
• Cut emissions in line with the Commissioner’s and Mayor’s sustainability objectives
• To facilitate the safe use of the RIS in confined and unventilated spaces, without exposing any of LFB’s personnel or members of the public to additional harmful exhaust fumes.

Tendering process

Officers identified the user specifications for the required equipment, enabling the Commissioner’s vehicles and equipment contractor, Babcock Emergency Services, to undertake the tendering process on behalf of the LFB under the extant vehicles and equipment contract.

Babcock Emergency Services identified two bidders that met the requirements and subsequently informed LFB they have a preferred bidder. The quote from the preferred bidder for 168 RIS sets sits within the identified budget and is valid until mid-November 2018.

Report LFC-0076x and its confidential appendix provide details of the procurement process.

Objectives and expected outcomes

This equipment replacement will ensure that firefighters will continue to be able to perform efficiently and effectively in safely managing fast-moving incidents requiring ‘cutting and spreading’ equipment at the roadside.

Having no external high-pressure hydraulic pipes or connectors, the risk to operational personnel of high-pressure oil injection is greatly reduced from that of the equipment currently in use. As external generators and high-pressure hoses are not required for the proposed equipment, the cost of this replacement has been reduced from the original estimate of £1,558,000 down to £1,250,000, which includes the fire appliance modifications. This represents an estimated saving of £308,000. Additional benefits provided by the proposed equipment include:

• This equipment is easier and more flexible to use as a result of not having the restrictions of the connecting high pressure pipework and generator
• There are no harmful exhaust fumes which aids the use in confined and unventilated spaces
• Being self-contained smaller power tools, they do not have separate power pumps and hoses. This gives the benefit of being able to be used from the cage of an aerial appliance providing enhanced access at height outside of buildings
• The equipment has no exhaust emissions and each are lighter than the existing Rapid Intervention Set tool providing manual handling benefits
• This purchase sees the added benefit of a dedicated cutter in addition to the combi-tool. The dedicated cutter is an additional tool to what is currently carried on our frontline pumping appliances, delivering greater operational capability.

Equality comments

The Public Sector Equality Duty – and the potential impacts of this decision on those with protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation) – has been considered by the London Fire Commissioner and the Deputy Mayor for Fire and Resilience.

The proposed tools are smaller, lighter and easier to handle, supporting all staff types’ utility.

During the contract term, the contractor is forbidden for discriminating against any person on grounds of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief or age contrary to the provisions of the Equality Act 2010- whether through its own actions, or the actions of an agent. The Contractor is also required to comply with the terms of the Commissioner’s Equalities Protocol, as set out in Schedule 13 of the contract. Compliance is a condition of the contract.

Further, the contractor is required to comply with the race equality duty, the disability equality duty and the gender equality duty set out in the Equality Act 2010 as if the Contractor were a public authority within the meaning of the legislation, and also to comply with the provisions of section 404 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (‘the 1999 Act’) (promoting equality of opportunity for all persons, irrespective of their race, sex, age , disability, sexual orientation or religion) as if the contractor were a functional body within the meaning of the 1999 Act.

Other considerations

Procurement and Sustainability

The tendering process required bidders to set out the sustainability benefits of their bids. These impacts have been included in the tender evaluations. The outcomes established that the proposed new equipment supports both the LFB sustainability objectives and the London Mayoral priorities. The selected tools utilise recyclable materials wherever possible; the proposed arrangements offer the option to return the tools at the end of their 10-year life where they will be recycled or where possible refurbished and donated to charities.

London Safety Plan

This proposal supports the ‘Responding in an emergency’ theme of the London Safety Plan and its aim— ‘Providing the right response’, ensuring that firefighters are equipped with the right tools, that are best able to provide the fastest and safest support at the incident ground.

Financial comments

The Commissioner’s capital budget requirement for this equipment has reduced from £1,558,000 to £1,250,000, following the removal of the external generator and high-pressure hose from the specification by purchasing a battery powered RIS, resulting in a saving of £308,000.

There is an allowance of £1,250,000 in the 2018/19 capital fleet and equipment replacement budget for the purchase and installation of the RIS equipment. If external borrowing was used to finance this expenditure, the annual debt charges would be £160,000, based on a 10-year life and an interest rate of 2.8%.

No additional funds from the Greater London Authority are sought or required; there are no direct financial implications for the GLA.

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