Unveiling of the first ever throwline station in South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire’s first ever throwline station was unveiled at Ulley Country Park last week, offering a potential lifeline to the hundreds of people who visit every week.

The throwline station has been dedicated to Dylan Ramsay, a young boy who drowned whilst swimming in a Lancashire quarry six years ago.

Dylan Ramsay’s mum, Beckie, attended the event to unveil the board in his memory and shared her story with local councillors.

Dylan was swimming in a quarry and had been in the water about twenty minutes before getting into difficulties. He was pulled from the water and given CPR but was unable to be resuscitated.

Ever since, Beckie has worked tirelessly to promote water safety and has launched a campaign in his memory ‘Doing it for Dylan’.

Doing it for Dylan was set up to get water safety messages to children, students and adults to raise the awareness around the dangers of swimming in open water.

Around 400 people needlessly drown in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences. These stations provide quick access rescue capability for anyone who might find themselves in difficulties in the water.

Area Manager Steve Helps said “This is a fantastic initiative and will go a long way to protect those who visit Ulley Country Park on a daily basis. This is a key part of our prevention work and I’m sure it will be the first of many throwline stations within South Yorkshire.”

You can download a Water Safety Booklet here

To find out more about Doing It For Dylan go to www.facebook.com/doingitfordylan, or follow @missmybabyboy on Twitter.

Young fire fan visits South Yorkshire as part of 2,500-station journey

An 11-year-old autistic schoolboy who dreams of being a firefighter has visited stations in South Yorkshire as part of efforts to visit every fire facility in the country.

Andrew Impey, from Southsea, Hampshire recently ticked off the 999th station, the emergency services number marking a milestone on his 2,500-station journey.

This week he added Birley Moor, Parkway and Elm Lane fire stations to his list as part of his mission.

He had been aiming to raise £999 for The Fire Fighters Charity but upped this to £1,943 to mark the period when the National Fire Service was born. He has so far raised more than £1,700.

In addition to stations, he has visited individual departments, specialist units and even fire crews based at airports.

This year he will be visiting the US with his family to meet firefighters from the Fire Department of the City of New York.

He has also kitted his room out as a fire station with more than 800 bits of equipment and trinkets he has been given by various services and pieces he has picked up at expos and trade shows.

He has 32 helmets, 10 full fire kits and even a mini-set of breathing apparatus as well as a control room-style map and a firefighters’ pole.

Andrew documents his travels on social media, where he uses his middle name and is known as Andrew Dane, on #oneladschallenge.

South Yorkshire firefighter saves life of Leicester City football fan

An off-duty South Yorkshire firefighter has helped to save the life of a football fan during Leicester City’s Champions’ League triumph over Sevilla this week.

Caz Whiteman, a South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) firefighter currently based at the service’s training centre, was in the crowd for the match at Leicester’s King Power Stadium on Tuesday night when a fellow spectator collapsed with a suspected heart attack.

Caz, who was sat nearby, immediately rushed to support pitch side first aiders and deliver cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for more than 15 minutes until he was taken to hospital by ambulance. The man, who has three children, is now making a full recovery.

Caz said: “My seats were just three rows from the front of the pitch and just as the teams were starting to come out for the second half, I noticed that a spectator was in difficulty. I came down to the front of the pitch to see what I could do to help and it became clear he had suffered a heart attack and gone into cardiac arrest. Along with the pitch side medics, I cleared his airway and immediately performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions.

“This is where the skills I’ve picked up from my day job really came into their own. Firefighters already have the skills and knowledge to provide effective first responder care in emergency situations, particularly at incidents were we may arrive on scene before paramedics. My actions were a natural, instinctive reaction to the situation in front of me. Anyone with the right skills and training would have done the same thing. But I’m just so relieved that he has made it and I wish him well for a full recovery.”

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden, said: “I already know that we employ an incredible selection of individuals who perform brilliantly, day in, day out, to keep our communities safe. But Caz’s brilliant quick thinking and life saving actions really did go above and beyond the call of duty and highlight that, in some ways, a firefighter is never ‘off duty’. The skills and training we give our crews stay with them for life, which this inspiring, life saving story confirms.”

Prince’s Trust team transforms Barnsley theatre

A team of young people taking part in a major local youth development programme have unveiled their hard work and transformation of a community theatre.

The group, who are taking part in the Prince’s Trust Team Programme have spent the last week tidying, cleaning and decorating the changing room and corridor area at the Dearne Playhouse on Washington Street in Goldthorpe.

The Prince’s Trust Team Programme is being delivered by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police from Barnsley fire station. Team Programme is a 12 week course for unemployed 16 to 25 year olds, offering work experience, qualifications, practical training and a residential development week.

The programme encourages the young people to nominate their own community project, with those on the current scheme choosing to transform this well loved community theatre for the local people.  The backstage area has now been brightened up and is a calming place for the thousands of young children and adults using the theatres facilities each year.

The group were able to fund the transformation after raising cash from a raffle and a bag pack at Asda the week before.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Team Leader Rhian Oxley said: “Team Programme is about more than simply boosting young people’s employment skills. It gives them hope, confidence and the opportunity to make a difference.

“The community project the young people have been involved in is the perfect proof of that aspiration and we hope the sense of achievement it gives them will give them the self-belief which they can transfer to their future lives.”

Young people launch fire service funded film to tackle anti-social behaviour

A fire service funded film project is helping to tackle anti-social behaviour in South Yorkshire.

The Salvation Army, in partnership with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) and South Yorkshire Police (SYP), has been working with a group of young people from Aston Academy, Handsworth Grange Community Sports College and Outwood Academy City to create the film called ‘The Power of Pressure’. A series of workshops were designed to give them the skills and confidence to explore how making the wrong decisions can affect the lives of young people and their families and then supporte the group in putting this difficult subject to film.

The project and film aims to reduce the levels of anti-social behaviour and protect the most vulnerable people, as well as educating young people on drugs and alcohol. It is hoped that schools and colleges will use the film to start discussions around the topics addressed.

The film has this week been launched at an Oscar themed night at the SYFR’s Training and Development Centre, to an audience including the Lord Mayor of Sheffield Councillor Denise Fox and Fire Authority Members along with family and friends.

The Salvation Army were awarded £5,910 for the project under the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s funding scheme, Stronger Safer Communities Reserve.

The fund saw dozens of registered charities, community organisations and partner agencies come forward and apply for grants from the £2 million fund, which had been set aside from the Authority’s reserves. Groups were able to bid for as little as £5,000 or as much as £150,000 to support projects which reduce injuries, save lives and make South Yorkshire safer.

SYFR Head of Prevention & Protection Steve Helps said: “Anti social behaviour can put a big strain on local communities, so preventative measures are becoming more important than ever.  This film will be a great tool to educate and inspire young people to make the correct life choices.”

Lord Mayor of Sheffield Councillor Denise Fox said; “‘This project has been a real example of partnership in action between South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, South Yorkshire Police and the Salvation Army. The young people have been supported to make this film, and I would like to congratulate them for their hard work and commitment.

“They will be an inspiration to their friends and family, highlighting important life lessons about making the right choices, and the consequences of making the wrong choices.”

Two weeks left to have your say on how fire service delivers its work to local people

There are two weeks left for people in South Yorkshire to have their say on how the fire service plans to deliver its work between now and 2020.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue does not propose making any further reductions in fire station or fire engine numbers in plans presented to the service’s governing Fire Authority last month, despite having lost more than £14 million from its annual budget since 2010.

But its proposals do include making more of its firefighters available in the day when crews are busiest, changing its prevention work to focus on those most at risk and proactively exploring collaboration opportunities with other emergency services.

Key changes outlined in the service’s draft Integrated Risk Management Plan 2017-20 include:

  • Changing the staffing of the second fire engine at Sheffield’s Central fire station so that it is available all of the time in the day, but ‘on call’ at night
  • Adding two additional fire engines at two fire stations in South Yorkshire, which would also be available all of the time in the day, but ‘on call’ at night
  • Continuing to offer fire prevention guidance to all, but prioritising its free Home Safety Checks service for those who the service believes are at the greatest risk of fire
  • Finding further ways of working more closely with the police and ambulance services, as a new law now makes it a requirement for all emergency services to do

The plans also consider how the fire service intends to respond to Government’s efforts to reform the fire service nationally, including requirements to provide a more flexible and diverse workforce.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden, said: “Our vision for the lifetime of this plan is to provide the best possible service to the people of South Yorkshire within the resources which are available to us.

“We are not proposing any further significant changes to our core 999 service, beyond those outlined in previous plans. But the proposals we have outlined in this plan do explain how we intend to develop our service to become more efficient in what we do and make the biggest possible difference to those most at risk of fire.

“These are draft proposals and we really want to gather views from the public on the plans we have put forward.”

Members of the public can share their views on the plans until 27 March. Once the consultation period has ended and feedback has been considered, Fire Authority members will make the final decision on the proposals.

People can share their views via an online survey, in writing or at a series of community roadshow events- the last of which takes place at Barnsley’s Alhambra Centre tomorrow (Tuesday 14 March).

This consultation has now ended

Housing providers given extra time to bid for fire service sprinkler funding

South Yorkshire housing providers are being given extra time to access fire service funding to support the installation of sprinklers in high-risk homes.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) attends dozens of serious house fires every year in social housing and sheltered accommodation.

To help tackle the problem and increase the number of sprinkler systems fitted across the county, earlier this year SYFR launched a  £1 million fund to encourage more housing providers to install them in buildings lived in by those residents most at risk from fire.

Head of prevention and protection Steve Helps, said: “We’re pleased that several organisations have already come forward to take advantage of this scheme, but we have also listened to feedback from other potential partners who have requested more time to scope and research appropriate funding bids.

“Sprinklers are a cost effective way of making homes safer – they stop fires from spreading, put them out quickly and save lives. We are especially concerned about those people who are most at risk of fire such as those with mobility or mental health problems or people with dementia who may not know how to react, or be able to react quickly enough, if they hear a smoke alarm.”

The installation of sprinkler systems in new build homes is now mandatory in Wales and SYFR is actively promoting the use of this type of protection in all types of buildings to build resilience and safety into local communities.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s sprinkler fund is open to any social  or private housing provider. It will part fund those projects which demonstrate the best value and innovation in protecting the most vulnerable people possible from fire.  It forms part of the Stronger Safer Communities Reserve, with money set aside from the Authority’s reserves.

For more information on how to submit a funding bid contact bfsadmin@syfire.gov.uk