House fire escape plan plea as huge survey reveals big knowledge gap

Fire officers are calling on families to make a house fire escape plan, after a major city-wide survey found less than half of parents discuss with children how to get out safely in the event of a blaze.

The Sheffield Parents Survey spoke to nearly 2,000 parents across the city about a range of topics, including fire safety.

It found that most people (95%) knew how to reduce the risk of fire in their home and that even more (96%) had at least one working smoke alarm.

But just two out of every five parents (43%) who responded said they had talked to their children about escaping quickly and safely in the event of a fire.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue already talks to tens of thousands of children each year about escape routes and preventing fires during primary schools visits and at the Lifewise Centre, but fire safety officers want parents to do more to support their work.

Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “There are fewer house fires now than at any time in South Yorkshire’s history, but in the unlikely event that a blaze does occur it’s vital that everyone in the house knows what to do, especially in homes where there are young children.

“It’s important that on discovering a fire children know not to hide, which can often be their first instinct. Instead, we would encourage families to work together to know and discuss the best routes in and out of their house and to make sure that everyone knows where to find door and window keys in the event of a fire, especially at night.”

If your smoke alarms do go off or you discover a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.

Other advice includes:

  • Choose the best escape route– usually your normal way in and out of the home
  • If the first route is blocked, think of a second one, and keep those routes cleared at all times
  • Make sure everyone knows where to find door and window keys so they can get to them quickly in the event of a fire
  • Practice your escape plan with everyone if your house, so everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire

The fire service has also produced a video which teaches people how to make a family escape plan, which you can view below

Charity car wash events

Firefighters will be washing cars this Saturday as part of a national charity event.

The event is aimed at raising money for The Fire Fighter’s Charity, which supports injured firefighters and their families.

As well as washing cars, firefighters will also be on hand to offer road and fire safety advice.

The following stations are taking part in the annual event on Saturday 23 September.

THORNE – 9am – 2pm (Union Road, Thorne, Doncaster, DN8 5EL)
LOWEDGES – 11am – 4pm (Lowedges Road, Sheffield, S8 7JN)

Central – 10am to 3pm, Eyre Street, Sheffield
OFFICERS CAR WASH – 11am – 4pm (Lakeside Shopping Centre, Doncaster)
DEARNE – 10am – 2pm (Manvers Way, Rotherham, S63 5DN)
BIRLEY MOOR – 10am – 4pm (Moor Valley, Sheffield, S20 5FA)

Why not pop along to one of the above and get your car cleaned all in aid of The Fire Fighters charity.

Fire & Police recruiting for Prince’s Trust Team Programme

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) and South Yorkshire Police (SYP) have teamed up with the Prince’s Trust to deliver the Team Programme.

Two Team Programmes are due to start soon in Sheffield and Barnsley and we are recruiting now.

The 12 week personal development course is for unemployed 16 – 25 year olds.  The Programme offers work experience, qualifications, practical skills, community projects and a residential week.

Individuals will gain new skills, mix with new people and make new friends, they will be given help with job-hunting and CV writing and most importantly a big boost to their confidence and a real sense of achievement.

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.”

SYFR Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “The 12 week course is all about building the confidence of the young people and equipping them with the skills qualifications and experience to find employment and build better lives for themselves. From classes in CV building to work placements we will be able to offer participants crucial skills and insights they otherwise will never experience. I am truly proud of the role the fire service is playing in helping these young people aspire to a better future.”

We are now recruiting for these Team Programme’s based in Barnsley and for the first time in Sheffield, to be part of it and to take that first step contact John Daley on 07769 887249 or princestrust@syfire.gov.uk.

More details can be found on the South Yorkshire Police website here www.southyorks.police.uk/princestrust

Follow updates on Twitter at #PrincesTrust

Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvSKmcRN_Qc

Fire service ‘chip pan’ campaign part of national award win double

A chart topping bid by firefighters has won a major national campaign award.

Central red watch and 999 operators at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue were part of a daring drive to reach the top of the Christmas charts with ‘Chip Pan’ by the Everly Pregnant Brothers.

The song was used as part of a wider campaign to cut house fires over Christmas and won the ‘Best Low Budget Campaign’ gong at the Public Sector Communication Awards.

Although the track didn’t reach the festive song summit, it helped raise awareness of kitchen fire safety amongst millions of people.

The associated campaign contributed to an 18 per cent drop in house fires in December and raised £4,311 for two charities- Age UK Sheffield and Shelter.

Highlights of the assault on the yuletide music chart included two national television appearances and more than five million views online for a video which accompanies the song. Leaders, businesses and celebrities from across Sheffield also threw in their support for the campaign.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden, said: “Both our staff and the South Yorkshire public really got behind this campaign. Although it was a bit of fun, albeit with a serious safety message at its heart, it raised such a lot of money for two great causes and also contributed to our biggest objective- making people safer by reducing house fires. I’m really pleased that this hard work has been recognised at a national level.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue also won the award for ‘Best Integrated Campaign’ for a campaign to curb electrical fires. Text message marketing, radio advertising and an interactive quiz combined to cut electrical house fires by a quarter last summer.

Firefighters graduate from South Yorkshire recruits course

The biggest batch of South Yorkshire firefighter recruits in eight years has successfully graduated following 13 weeks of intensive training.

The group of twelve full-time firefighters have completed their training with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and will now join crews at their respective fire stations around the county.

A passing out parade at the service’s Training & Development Centre was attended by family, friends and local dignitaries. It included demonstrations from the recruits who showcased the skills they have picked up over the last three months.

The course included an intensive period of safety critical learning which covered skills such as ladder and hose reel drills, road traffic collision extrication and breathing apparatus training.

The recruits then spent time on fire stations where they continued their development and attended real incidents, before spending time at the Lifewise Centre observing the contribution of the service’s award-winning community safety team and the work they do to prevent emergencies.

Chief Fire Officer James Courtney, said: “Well done to all of our recruits for what they have achieved. Having beaten off competition from literally hundreds of other applicants, they really are a credit to both themselves and their loved ones.

“The intensive course they have been on will prepare them for challenging yet rewarding future careers. But importantly, the training they’ve received also covers the broader aspects of a modern firefighter’s role, with our work to keep people safe and prevent emergencies every bit as important as the work we are most associated with- responding to 999 calls.”

The Chair of South Yorkshire Fire Authority Linda Burgess said; “The recruits have gone through rigorous training to incorporate the demands of the modern firefighter role as South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue continues to provide the best possible emergency service to the public. The financial pressures that fire services are under have been well documented, but by recruiting these individuals we have also shown that despite the challenges we face we remain committed to supporting our future.

“They have worked really hard and their achievements are well deserved. We wish them all the best for their future career.”

For more information on a career as a South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue firefighter, visit www.syfrrecruitment.com

Or to watch videos following the trainees on their recruits course, visit https://www.youtube.com/user/SYFR08

Animal rescue charity benefits from fire service donation

Award winning staff members at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue have generously donated a cash prize to a local animal rescue charity, after receiving the money at an awards event.

Fire Community Safety Officers and the High Risk Coordination Team were presented with the prize at the Cutlers’ Company Police and Fire Service awards. The team members decided to donate their £250 award to Barnsley Animal Rescue, which provides care and shelter for 100s of abandoned animals across South Yorkshire.

Claire Walsh, Community Safety Co-ordinator at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, said: “We were really pleased to win the award and couldn’t wait to present Barnsley Animal Rescue with the donation. We wanted to help a local charity and felt that Barnsley Animal Rescue was a very worthy cause.”

“Often in our line of work we come across vulnerable persons who unfortunately have to give their beloved animals up for re-homing and Barnsley Animal Rescue help to do this.”

Kath Bailey, founding member and trustee at Barnsley Animal Rescue, said: “The staff and animals at Barnsley Animal Rescue would like to say a big thank you to South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.  Every penny of the £250 donation will go towards helping the stray and abandoned animals in our care to find a forever home and a second chance in life.”

Fire Community Safety Officers and the High Risk Coordination Team fit tens of thousands of smoke alarms each year, helping to reduce the number of accidental dwelling fires in the homes of some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Success for GPS dementia trackers

Families who have loved ones living with dementia have praised the use of trackers, which allow their relatives and emergency services to follow their movements, should they be reported missing.

The GPS trackers, which are worn on any item of clothing that someone frequently wears or is likely to have with them, have been given to 12 people in Sheffield who have dementia/Alzheimer’s.

Introduced by the Local Intervention and Falls Episodes (LIFE) Team in South Yorkshire, the devices allow emergency services, and families, to trace a person’s movements more easily, as Acting Inspector Gayle Kirby explains.

“Our aim is to support those living with dementia/Alzheimer’s and when someone is reported missing, these trackers allow us to ensure they are found as safely and as quickly as possible so that they can be reunited with their loved ones.

“I hope that this offers some comfort to those families who have loved ones living with dementia/Alzheimer’s that with the trackers, we are in a much better position to ensure their wellbeing as soon as possible.”

Dena Berry, from Sheffield, whose mum has dementia and was last reported missing earlier this month, said that the tracker had given her family ‘peace of mind.’

She said: “I don’t know what I’d do without it. It’s very simple to use, very accurate and all the family can be connected and monitor it at once, ensuring quick responses which will ultimately save police time. It has given the family peace of mind.”

Recently, Dena’s mum went missing and immediately her dad was alerted through the tracker. Dena was then able to track her, find her and bring her home before police needed to be called.

The LIFE team, made up of staff from South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, began trialling the devices in May earlier this year and are really pleased with the success they’ve had so far.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “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.”

A/Insp Kirby added: “I’m delighted that this new initiative has been successful in Sheffield, improving the quality of lives for those affected and their loved ones.

“The tracker not only alerts the user to whether the missing person is walking or using transport, but also whether they could be in distress or have fallen.

“It’s easy to use and can be used from someone’s mobile phone. I hope that it offers families reassurance that with these trackers we can find people more quickly.

““I’m really proud of the LIFE team, who have worked incredibly hard to bring this initiative to the city. Following the success of the trackers in Sheffield, our hope is that we will be able to obtain funding so that we can help more vulnerable people within the community and to help their families.”

Firefighters test house fire skills at unique live training exercise in Barnsley

Firefighters have been given a unique chance to put their expert skills to the test at a flame-filled live training exercise in Barnsley.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue crews were able to stage the realistic scenario thanks to Barnsley Council and Berneslai Homes, who made soon-to-be-demolished properties on Baden Street in the town available for live fire and rescue training.

The scenario involved a fire being set in one of the properties and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entering the property to rescue casualties and put out the blaze.

The burns are being carried out in a safe, controlled way with every effort made to minimise disruption to local people and the environment. Several more are planned over the coming weeks.

Fire bosses say that as the number of house fires in the country continues to fall, it’s vital that crews are trained in the most authentic conditions possible so that they are ready to respond to the best of their ability should real incidents occur.

Station Manager Chris Mee, said: “This project is designed to improve operational effectiveness, firefighter safety and public safety. As the number of house fires in South Yorkshire continues to reduce, our crews are exposed to less incidents making it even more important that the training we offer them is as realistic and challenging as possible.

“It’s also an example of public agencies working together to deliver better outcomes for local people and we’re really grateful to Barnsley Council and Berneslai Homes for agreeing to facilitate this rare training opportunity.”

Cllr Roy Miller, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place said: “We are delighted South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue have been able to carry out this project to help train their crews. The safety of Barnsley’s residents is of utmost importance to us and we are always looking for opportunities to work together with partners to achieve this.”

Berneslai Homes Director of Assets, Regeneration and Construction, Stephen Davis said: “We are pleased to be co-operating with this project with the fire service for the benefit of our tenants and residents and their safety.”

Retired firefighter revisits past on Adwick fire station visit

A retired South Yorkshire firefighter has been handed a heartwarming trip down memory lane, thanks to green watch at Adwick fire station.

Eric Johnson, aged 83, from Mexborough, visited the station in Doncaster where he served as a firefighter for more than a decade between 1974 and 1985.

Eric, who is living with dementia, retired from the fire service in 1989 having first joined in 1958, also serving at Mexborough and Brampton stations during his career.

The octogenarian was accompanied on the visit by wife Ena, aged 79. He met some of the fire station’s current crew, donned fire kit and tried out a modern hose reel. He was also given a tour of the station and even managed to spot the location where his old bed would have been.

The visit was coordinated by Carole Rowland, a member of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s award-winning community safety team who met Eric and Ena at a memory cafe in Conisbrough which they regularly attend.

Ena said: “It was an absolutely brilliant day and Carole and the crew at Adwick were so kind to us. Unfortunately, Eric has developed Alzheimers, but nostalgic visits like this really help him to relive his past and it was amazing how much he remembered about his time at Adwick, including the layout of the station and even where he used to sleep.”

Dozens of fire service staff have 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.

Fire crews carry out major rail incident training exercise

South Yorkshire’s fire crews have taken part in a dramatic steam train themed training exercise to test their response to an incident at Heritage railway.

Exercise Thomas was simulated to test the work that the Elsecar Heritage Railway train guard, rail incident officer and other crew members would carry out in the event of a major incident. It specifically focused on the station’s procedures for contacting the emergency services and for dealing with an incident prior to and during the arrival of the fire service.

The exercise involved a car that had crossed the railway line at Elsecar station and had been struck by a moving train.

Two heavy rescue pumps from Tankersley and Adwick stations were involved in the exercise. Crews from Tankersley white watch and Adwick red watch worked together to remove a number of casualties from the train, including a 27 stone training dummy to simulate a bariatric rescue. Personnel from Cudworth station red watch also performed rescues from the car and assisted with the hour long scenario.

A number of trainee forward liaison officers from Barnsley District Council attended the exercise and have requested to be involved in other similar training exercises.

Andrew Littlewood, Trustee at Heritage Railway said: “We are always happy to work in conjunction with our emergency services. We trust that South Yorkshire Fire Service benefitted from the experience.”

Delroy Galloway, station manager at Tankersley fire station, said: “The exercise was a huge success and allowed all those who participated to further understand their roles and responsibilities in the event of a major incident.

“Exercise Thomas formed part of an ongoing aim to continually improve major emergency response procedures and i would like to thank everyone who took part.”

Elsecar Heritage Railway runs steam hauled trains and diesel locomotives for members of the public on a regular basis.