Correctly fitting PPE is an essential component in ensuring firefighters experience optimum protection, mobility and comfort – a challenging prospect when injury is involved. Pac Fire strives to deliver PPE that provides the best possible fit to Australasian firefighters. To achieve this, Pac Fire actively seeks out like-minded partners, such as Jolly Scarpe whose status as a leading firefighting footwear supplier and agile manufacturing processes allow them to produce ‘made to measure’ solutions.
In 2020, Fire and Rescue NSW approached Pac Fire on behalf of Firefighter Dixon after exhausting all traditional footwear options following an injury resulting in the fusion of the right first metatarsal.
Pac Fire’s premium footwear suppliers, Jolly, were already producing around 15 pairs of ‘made to measure’ firefighting boots annually at the time of Fire and Rescue NSW enquiry. After learning of his story, Jolly signalled their eagerness to take on the challenge of providing a highly protective structural firefighting boot that met Firefighter Dixon’s unique needs and would ultimately see him return to active service.
Stringent measurements, detailed orthopaedic reports and precise modelling were obtained from Firefighter Dixon so Jolly could fully assess the possibility of producing a workable footwear solution. This resulted in the production of new wooden ‘lasts’ that would go on to allow Jolly to shape each boot specifically to fit Firefighter Dixon’s feet.
The process of producing Firefighter Dixon’s made-to-measure footwear was both highly technical and challenging, involving not only Jolly’s top technicians but other specialised subcontractors who came together, each forming an integral part of the overall process.
Firefighter Dixon’s finished footwear is based on Jolly’s popular Fire Guard design, a zip front, structural firefighting boot already a popular option supplied to several of the UK’s Fire & Rescue Services.
Upon receiving his boots, Firefighter Dixon was cautiously optimistic when his custom-made orthotics fitted perfectly. He commented that the boots were surprisingly comfortable straight out of the box – albeit a little stiff. Aside from the fit, the feature Firefighter Dixon appreciated most was the ankle protection system providing additional support that almost felt like the boots made ascending stairs easier. He also noted how stable his foot felt in the boot, especially considering it was gripping him from the calf and ankle.
The Fire and Rescue NSW Podiatrist report went a step further to state that Firefighter Dixon’s Jolly footwear was quite possibly the highest-quality made-to-measure boot he has had through his practice.
Upon passing his assessment and gaining clearance to return to active firefighting duty, Firefighter Dixon told Pac Fire that there were no words to express his emotions. He went on to tell that returning to active service after travelling such a long road ‘meant the world to him’.
Jeremy Dawkins, Northern European and Australasian Sales Agent for Jolly Scarpe was heavily involved in Firefighter Dixon’s footwear project, describing it as ‘very challenging, but ultimately, very rewarding’. Mr Dawkins went on to commend Firefighter Dixon’s commitment to returning to active service to protect the community. He also complimented Fire and Rescue NSW on taking the obligation to support a fully inclusive and diverse workforce extremely seriously – a commitment not seen in other parts of the world.
Jolly is currently producing another pair of made-to-measure footwear for Firefighter Dixon to ensure continuity of service well into the future.
Pac Fire would like to extend our thanks to Jolly for undertaking such an important project and congratulate Firefighter Dixon on returning to active service within Fire and Rescue NSW.
Jolly Scarpe Footwear is distributed throughout Australasia by Pac Fire.
For more information, go to www.pacfire.com.au