South Yorkshire dementia project wins Doncaster partnership award

A major partnership to help tackle dementia related house fires in South Yorkshire has won a top local health award.

The South Yorkshire Dementia Action Alliances have worked with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue to deliver the ‘Dementia Fire and Home Safety Project’. The partners beat off competition from six other organizations to win the ‘best organisation’ gong at the Doncaster Dementia Awards, held at Doncaster College.

Under the scheme, coordinators in each of South Yorkshire’s four districts have promoted fire safety to a range of organisations working with people living with dementia and their carers, in a bid to reduce the risk of fire and the associated consequences.

Part of the co-ordinators’ role included promoting the fire service’s home safety check service, whereby trained fire service staff visit people’s homes and talk to them about preventing fires and other accidents and fit smoke alarms where needed.

The project will also work with the fire service on a safety campaign specifically targeting those living with dementia and their carers, including a number of roadshows across the county.

More than 15,000 people across South Yorkshire have been diagnosed with dementia – with thousands more thought to be undiagnosed.  Dementia is known to be a major factor involved in accidental house fires and fire related injuries and deaths.

Officers believe the project will benefit the fire service by providing a vital link with one of its key target groups in terms of vulnerability to fire.

Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “In the last decade, the fire service has helped to make South Yorkshire safer than it has been at any time in its history in terms of house fires and fire related deaths and injuries. But we believe we can play a much wider role in terms of tackling some of the big health challenges our country faces in the future.”

“This project is the perfect illustration of that aspiration, where we use the coordinated efforts and expertise of those at the frontline of dementia care to improve the lives of one of the most vulnerable groups in society.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is also a member of the Yorkshire & Humber Dementia Alliance, which is committed to tackling the growing issue of dementia within our communities.

Hundreds of its staff have also signed up to become Dementia Friends – a Government backed initiative which teaches people a little bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia, and then turns that understanding into action.

A monthly memory café at Adwick fire station in Doncaster also sees the fire service host support for people living with dementia and their carers. The fire service’s Pete Jones was highly commended for his work in setting up the project at last year’s Doncaster Dementia Awards.

The South Yorkshire Dementia Action Alliances project was awarded funding under the Stronger Safer Communities Reserve, with money which had been set aside from the Authority’s reserves.

For more information on preventing fires visit www.syfire.gov.uk or see below for a video produced by the project, which explains the links between dementia and fire.

BBQ safely say firefighters ahead of bank holiday weekend

South Yorkshire residents planning to celebrate the warm weather with a barbecue this weekend are being reminded to take some basic steps to ensure their party plans don’t go up in smoke.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue say al fresco cooking carries a potential fire risk- but only if barbecues are used incorrectly.

Trevor Bernard, Head of Community Safety, said: “Many people will be taking advantage of the beautiful weather this weekend and after a week of rain, who can blame them. All we are saying is before you get started with the sausages and kebabs, take a minute to decide where you’re going to site it. Then, when the coals are properly cooled, dispose of them safely.”

To make sure your barbecue goes to plan:

  • Site it on a flat surface well away from trees, shrubs and grassland
  • Keep a bucket of water or sand close by, just in case
  • Never use petrol or paraffin on a barbecue, only recognised lighters and starter fuels
  • Make sure the coals have properly cooled before disposal and empty ashes onto bare soil, not into the bin

Recent high-profile deaths on campsites involving barbecues have also prompted safety campaigners to remind campers of the fatal consequences of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Barbecues continue to give off the deadly gas even after the coals are cool. So campers should never use barbecues inside tents, or to stay warm indoors.

Water safety warning ahead of bank holiday weekend

Firefighters are urging the public not to swim in lakes and reservoirs this weekend, with warmer weather set to continue.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it attends dozens of water related incidents each year. Most are flooding or animal related, but others involve rescuing people from open water- particularly during hot weather.

Safety officers say people should avoid open water- like rivers and lakes- because they may not always be aware of the danger it poses. River flows can be unpredictable and water is often deeper, colder and faster than expected. People should enjoy water safely in swimming pools or safer, specialist facilities instead.

Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “We regularly receive 999 calls in the summer about people getting into difficulty in water, so it’s only a matter of time before someone’s safety is really put at risk unless people listen to our advice.

“It can be tempting to cool off in the summer months, but stick to a swimming pool. Hundreds of people drown each year in the UK and places like rivers, lakes or flooded quarries are completely unsuitable for swimming as they hide a number of hidden dangers.”

Over 400 people die in the water every year in the UK, and firefighters are urging people to follow some basic rules to stay safe.

The dangers of open water are:

  • The water can be much deeper than you expect
  • Rivers, lakes, canals and reservoirs are much colder than you think
  • Open water can carry water borne diseases, like Weils disease
  • Cold water dramatically affects your ability to swim
  • There may be hidden currents, which can pull you under the water
  • You don’t know what lies beneath, like pieces of rubbish or reeds which can trap or injure you

Safer Roads Partnership supporting the National Roads Policing motorcycle week of action

The South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster Councils, will be supporting the National Roads Policing Motorcycle Week of Action with a series of events this Bank Holiday Weekend for riders.  On Saturday 27 May, they will be at J&S Accessories in Doncaster and on Sunday 28 May, they will be at SMC Sheffield.

Drivers as well as riders will be targeted over the week of action, raising the awareness of all road users to be more vigilant of each other during the busier summer months when more scooters and motorbikes are on the roads.

With the support of the local dealerships, the Safer Roads Partnership and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue will be promoting further training that is available to riders in the county and distributing free summer rider packs, which will include buffs, ear plugs, visor wipes and reflective rucksack covers.

Joanne Wehrle, Education Manager for the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership, said “With the improving weather we find that more riders are ‘out and about’ on the county’s roads, from commuting to work to leisurely ride-outs, our aim at the events is to provide free help and advice to riders of all capacity machines, promoting further training as a great tool to increase their enjoyment of riding.”

Dave Newton, Road Traffic Collision Reduction Officer for South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stated, “By raising the awareness of all road users our aim is to ensure that everyone makes it back safely to their loved ones.  Drivers need to remember to look twice for riders while riders need to be aware of their own road positioning to drivers.  Let’s remember to share the roads.

“With both events, our Officers will be on hand to offer free help and advice, members from Sheffield Advanced Motorcyclists will be available to talk about their training and trips, ride-outs, while J&S and SMC will be able to assist with any bike related queries.”

Further information about this weekend’s events is available on the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership Facebook page.

LIFE Team trials innovative dementia products

Following on from Dementia Awareness Week last week, the multi-agency Local Intervention and Falls Episodes (LIFE) Team in South Yorkshire have launched a pioneering trial into the use of GPS tracking software to help loved ones locate missing people, particularly those living with dementia.

The LIFE team, which consists of staff from South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, have been working on behalf of all three emergency services in Sheffield since August last year, visiting vulnerable people to reduce fire risks, improve security and help people who have fallen.

Their work has expanded over the last year to include offering support to individuals that are living with dementia and their families or carers, and it is hoped that the trial of GPS tracking devices will offer some much needed reassurance.

Emergency services collaboration lead Temporary Chief Inspector Jenny Lax says: “When a loved one goes missing, it is an incredibly worrying and distressing time. Those concerns increase when that person lives with dementia.

“For police, when we receive a report of a missing person who lives with dementia, it generates a massive response immediately from across the force.

“In partnership with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, we wanted to see what additional support we could offer to those families and carers of those with dementia and that’s why we secured funding to explore the use of GPS trackers.”

The GPS trackers, which provide emergency services with the ability to trace a person’s movements, can be attached to any item that the individual frequently wears or is likely to always have on them, like a watch or a particular pair of shoes.

TCI Lax continues: “We know that those with dementia often feel they need to walk somewhere or retain some sense of routine and it’s important that the trackers are tailored to individual needs so that if they do go missing it’s more likely they’ll have the tracking device in their possession.

“This means that if they are reported missing, we can trace their movements more effectively and locate them much quicker.

“We hope that this trial offers an additional layer of reassurance to those families whose loved ones live with this awful and often debilitating disease, and provides some form of comfort that if they go missing, our emergency services are in a better position to locate them and return them home safely.”

SYFR Area Manager Steve Helps added: “This is yet another example of how the LIFE team is working together to produce meaningful outcomes for some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“We know that there are huge links between the people who need the help of the police and health services for reasons such as dementia, and those who are at risk of fire. So collaborative working such as this undoubtedly benefits our public safety work as well.”

The LIFE team are currently assessing potential candidates to take part in the trial and individuals that meet a certain set of agreed criteria will be offered a device.

House fires fall across South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire has recorded its lowest ever number of house fires.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it attended 561 accidental house blazes in 2016/17- an 11 per cent drop on the previous year’s figure (629). It’s also nearly half the number attended by the fire service 15 years ago (1008).

Fire officers say the latest figures are proof that its efforts to make people safer are paying off, with firefighters having carried out nearly 300,000 safety checks in people’s homes since 2006.

Staff also spoke to more than 30,000 children last year, as part of its education work in schools and the fire service has run successful campaigns targeting older people, electrical and cooking blazes.

But to maintain the record low figures, bosses say they need to become even more targeted in their prevention work and for local people, organisations and charities to get more involved.

Head of Prevention Steve Helps, said: “South Yorkshire is safer from house fires now than it has been at any time in its history, but people should never become complacent when it comes to fire safety. Every single incident we do attend is someone’s own, personal disaster and, potentially, someone’s tragedy.

“That’s why we need the help of local people and organisations to support our work. Nearly all of the most serious house fires we attend involve some common issues which are often being dealt with by other agencies, or involve people who are known by neighbours or loved ones to be at higher risk. The fire service can often put in place measures to prevent deaths from fire- but only if an individual is referred to us for support.”

Top tips for preventing house fires include:

  • Make sure you have smoke alarms on every floor of your home. Test them regularly.
  • Take extra care in the kitchen and never leave cooking unattended
  • Don’t overload electric sockets– most can only take a maximum of 13 amps
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children
  • Put out cigarettes properly and dispose of them carefully

Authority funding scheme’s third bidding round to open later this year

Applications will open later this year for the third round of the Stronger Safety Communities Reserve (SSCR).

The fund is a South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority scheme which reinvests money into local communities to support our work to prevent emergencies. The money has been set aside from the Authority’s reserves.

More than 40 projects won funding during two previous open bidding rounds, which you can read about here

SSCR Fund Information Event

To help potential applicants prepare for the bidding process, an information event will be held on 4 August at the fire service Training & Development Centre on Beaver Hill Road, Handsworth, Sheffield.

Speakers at the event will include successful applicants from the second open bidding round, including:

  • Edlington Community Association
  • Crisis Skylight South Yorkshire
  • Barnsley NHS Trust Specialist Midwives
  • SpeakUp Self – Advocacy

Delegates will also be advised on the application process, the funding criteria they must meet and the proposed tools for evaluating the successful projects.

The  funding for round three projects will be allocated according to some clearly defined themes, based on analysis of the fire service’s risk criteria. These themes are:

  • Water safety– particularly targeting children and young adults
  • Excluded groups– including BAME and faith communities, LGBT and Roma communities
  • Mental health– with hoarding, social isolation, dementia and substance misuse some specific issues to address
  • Arson– particularly deliberate setting of small fires by young people
  • Road traffic collisions– particularly focussing on young drivers
  • Health and social care– health related issues affecting older people, such as falls

Round 3 Timeline

  • Fund open for applications 1 September
  • Closing date for applications 12 noon 30 September
  • SYFR Task and finish groups meet 2 to 14 October to assess applications
  • Assessment board meets w/c 23 October to make recommendations
  • Recommendations for approval for funded projects to Fire Authority on 27 November
  • Approved projects notified w/c 27 November
  • Projects launch 1 January 2018

For more information please contact the SSCR co-ordinator, Toni Tranter on ttranter@syfire.gov.uk

Fire service backs national dementia campaign

The fire service is calling on residents in South Yorkshire to check on older friends, relatives and neighbours who may suffer from memory loss, in a bid to cut house fires.

That’s the message as South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue backs Dementia Awareness Week (15-19 May)- a national campaign which raises awareness of dementia and other illnesses that may incur memory loss.

Community safety staff are attending events across the county throughout the week, including dementia cafes and coffee mornings, meeting older people and offering them advice on preventing fires.

The fire service is also training dozens of its own staff to become Dementia Friends- a Government backed initiative which teaches people a little bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is also a member of the Yorkshire & Humber Dementia Alliance, which is committed to tackling the growing issue of dementia within our communities.

Area Manager Steve Helps said: “People with memory loss issues can be more at risk of having a fire due to for example, forgetting that they have left a pan on the stove. They may then become confused by the smoke alarm sounding and make the wrong decision about what to do, therefore putting themselves in danger.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue can offer a home safety check for people with memory issues. These checks can help people to live independently more safely by giving advice about fire safety and offering equipment solutions and support advice.

To access this service residents can call 0114 253 2314 and state that they have a memory issue or that they care for a person with a memory issue and that they would like to arrange a home safety check.

The fire service also offers free smoke alarm test reminders by email, text message or tweet. To sign-up, visit www.pressthebutton.co.uk

Fire service business continuity manager wins top Euro award

A fire service emergency planning manager has won a top European award.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Russ Parramore was named European Business Continuity and Resilience Professional of the Year at the Business Continuity Institute’s annual awards in Edinburgh.

Russ has worked to develop the fire service’s plans to become one of the world’s leading public service authorities on business continuity.

He has previously spoken at the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) World Conference and Exhibition in London, which attracted more than 1,000 delegates from over 100 countries.

Russ also chairs the National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) business continuity group, which picked up a team award at the event for its work promoting good business continuity practices amongst fire and rescue services nationally.

Area Manager Stewart Nicholson said: “Business continuity is a hot topic for many large organisations, both public and private, as they seek to work out how they can limit the disruption to their staff and the people they serve after a catastrophic event, which could range from a simple power outage to severe staff shortages.

“It’s a real coup for South Yorkshire and for the fire sector as a whole that Russ has been recognised for his work in this area.”

Top Sheffield firefighter and rope expert made UK rescue assessor

A Sheffield firefighter who is one of the country’s leading rope rescue experts has landed a major role with a top UK training charity.

Jim Lister, aged 46, has been caving in the limestone hills of the Peak District for more than 30 years, as well as saving lives as a rope rescue instructor with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and working as a volunteer for the Derbyshire Cave Rescue Organisation.

Now Jim, from Gleadless, has been made an assessor with the United Kingdom Rescue Organisation (UKRO), a charitable organisation committed to improving rescue standards throughout the UK.

Jim’s role will see him assessing training challenges and competitions, which are used to teach fire and rescue teams the most effective ways of rescuing people from dangerous situations.

Jim, who is currently based at Parkway fire station, said: “Caving has been a lifelong passion of mine both as a hobby and a career. My cave rescue expertise with Derbyshire Cave Rescue Organisation has given me an enormous number of skills which I am able to transfer to my day job with the fire service.

“Specifically, my rope rescue skills can be used in a wide variety of rescue situations from building collapses and underground rescues, to road traffic collisions, where perhaps a vehicle has gone over the edge of an embankment and people are trapped inside.

“Rope rescue skills can take years to master though, so by working with UKRO I am pleased to have now been given the opportunity to pass on my learning to people and rescue teams beyond my brilliant colleagues at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.”

For more information on the UK Rescue Organisation visit www.ukro.org