Long serving South Yorkshire firefighters honoured

More than 20 long serving firefighters, 999 operators and support staff have been honoured at a special ceremony in Sheffield.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue staged the event at Sheffield City Hall to recognise staff members who have clocked up more than 20 years serving local people.

Chief Fire Officer James Courtney and Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire Andrew Coombe presented the fire service Long Service & Good Conduct Medal to recipients in front of their family and friends. The medal was instituted by Her Majesty the Queen by Royal Warrant in 1954. It is awarded to employees who complete 20 years of meritorious service.

A special award was also presented to communications electrician Francis Delez who, with an incredible 51 years’ service behind him, is the fire service’s longest serving employee.

Group manager Trevor Bernard was given the honour of master of ceremonies, before he retires from the service next month.

Speaking at the event, Chief Fire Officer James Courtney, said: “We aspire to make South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue a great place to work, which includes recognising the efforts and achievements of our staff. As Chief Fire Officer, I therefore feel extremely proud to see so many members of our organisation recognised for the outstanding service they have given over the last twenty years or more.

“The role of a firefighter and the role of fire service has changed considerably in that time. Our responsibilities now go far beyond simply tackling fires. But one thing that will always remain the same is the pride which we all have in doing a job that can make such a positive difference in the communities we serve.”

Throwline stations unveiled in Rotherham

A throwline station has been unveiled next to a Rotherham canal.

The potentially life saving equipment has been installed close to the spot where a schoolboy drowned in 2016 and has been funded by Parkgate Shopping.

More than 20 throwline stations have been installed at open water sites across South Yorkshire in the last two years, including Doncaster Lakeside, Ulley Reservoir and Thrybergh Country Park. The lifelines have all been installed by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue working in conjunction with local partners.

The specially designed equipment contains throwlines which are stored securely to avoid vandalism, with an access code given to callers by 999 operators in the event of an emergency.

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.

Exercise Seadog tests response to multiple car pile up

Firefighters joined forces with Sheffield Hallam University paramedic students for a training simulation on Saturday (19 May).

The exercise saw crews from Central, Rivelin, Parkway and Birley Moor fire stations simulate their response to a multiple car pile up.

Four vehicles were used and nine ‘casualties’, including people and manikins.

DipHE Paramedic Practice & BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science students took part in the exercise, to discover how different emergency services work together at 999 incidents.

Fire crews carry out rescue water training exercise

South Yorkshire’s fire crews have taken part in a realistic water and rope rescue exercise to test their response in the event of a high-risk emergency.

The training exercise involved the rescue of two ‘casualties’ who had climbed onto a structure and were refusing to come down.

Aston Park, Edlington, Rivelin and Cudworth firefighters all took part in the exercise on the River Rother at Woodhouse Mill Regulator on the junction of Retford Road and Furnace Lane in Woodhouse, Sheffield.

Wayne Sutcliffe, station manager at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, said: “Firefighters respond to a huge range of emergencies, far beyond the house fires and road traffic collisions we are traditionally associated with. Both water rescues and rescues from height can be extremely complex, which is what makes training like this so important. The scenario was successfully completed and generated a great deal of operational learning.”

Cooking safety advice during Ramadan

The fire service is calling on South Yorkshire’s Muslim communities to take extra care ahead of one of the most important periods in the Islamic calendar.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue fears people are more likely to be at risk of fire during Ramadan, which began on 15 May.

Ramadan lasts for 30 days and is observed by fasting during daylight hours, with cooking taking place before sunrise or after sunset.

Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “We recognise this is a really important time in the Islamic calendar, but want to make sure people observe it safely. In particular, people should take extra care to keep an eye on their cooking, as fasting could leave you feeling tired and more likely to become distracted or have an accident.

“Smoke alarms are the best way of making sure that if a fire does occur, you have the vital extra minutes to escape. So make sure smoke alarms are fitted on every level of your home and test them regularly.

“It’s also vital that if the smoke alarms do sound, everyone in the house knows what to do and knows how to escape, so talk this through with your family and loved ones.”

Top tips for staying safe during Ramadan include:

  • Cooking– Half of all house fires start in the kitchen, so take extra care when cooking, particularly with hot oil – it sets alight easily
  • Never throw water on a burning pan– in the event of a fire get out, stay out and call 999
  • Take extra care with clothing– make sure hijaabs, shalwar, kameez and saris are kept well away from the hob
  • Practise escape routes– and make sure every member of your family knows it well
  • Have a working smoke alarm on every floor of your home– test them weekly to make sure they work.

Importance of having the right smoke alarms for people who are deaf or hard of hearing highlighted during awareness week

We are supporting Deaf Awareness Week by highlighting the importance of having the right smoke alarms for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

It’s essential that people who are deaf or hard of hearing have the right smoke alarms in their homes and ensure they can contact 999 in an emergency.  Some people may need additional equipment to make them aware the smoke alarm has been activated.  SYFR offers free Home Safety Checks (HSC’s) to people who people who are deaf or hard of hearing; during our visit Community Safety staff will assess the need for a specialist alarm and offer advice about keeping safe at home.

SYFR has introduced a Text line for deaf and hard of hearing communities to book a HSC.

To book a HSC please text 07776 225 696

  • Start your text with ‘HSC’
  • Your name
  • Your full address

If you have concerns that a friend or relative may not be able to hear their smoke alarms, please call: 01114 253 2314 or visit www.syfire.gov.uk to book a visit.

SYFR also urge people who are unable to make a voice call to 999 to register their mobile phones with the emergency SMS service. This allows them to text an emergency call to any of the UK’s emergency services.

To do this they should text ‘register’ to 999 and then follow the instructions received. Or for further information visit www.emergencysms.org.uk

Once registered the person can make an emergency call by sending a text to 999.

Have you signed up for police alerts?

SYP Alerts is a messaging system developed by South Yorkshire Police, which allows you to receive updates from local neighbourhood police teams.

There are now over 9,000 people signed-up to receive alerts in South Yorkshire and the force is driving an initiative to reach 10k by the end of May.

Being signed-up to SYP Alerts means that you can receive messages by text, email or voice alert about policing matters specifically in your community. You can even choose what type of things you would like to receive messages about by personalising your account once you have signed-up.

If you live in South Yorkshire, you can register quickly and easily at www.sypalerts.co.uk.

Fire service hosts second ‘memory cafe’ as part of dementia support mission

A fire station based ‘memory cafe’ which aims to support the growing numbers of people who live with dementia has been launched in Barnsley

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Cudworth fire station hosts the monthly memory cafe, with support from local dementia support services.

The events, which are held on the third Friday of every month, provide an opportunity for people living with dementia and their carers to meet in a safe, managed environment and to take part in activities to promote mental and physical wellbeing, such as chair based exercises.

The group has become the second fire service backed memory cafe to be launched in South Yorkshire, joining Woodlands Memory Cafe which has been operational at Adwick fire station for more than two years.

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: “We have already proven in recent years how the fire service is well placed to play a much wider role in terms of tackling some of the big health challenges our country faces in the future. This latest project is the perfect illustration of that aspiration, where fire service resources are helping 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 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.

The next session of the memory cafe takes place on Friday 18 May from 10.30am to 12.30am at Cudworth fire station, Tumbling Lane, Barnsley, S71 5RZ. It is open to anyone living with dementia and their carers, or any older people feeling isolated and wanting to make new friends.

Water safety warning ahead of bank holiday weekend

Firefighters are urging the public not to swim in lakes and reservoirs this weekend, with warm sunny days forecast for South Yorkshire.

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.

Area Manager Steve Helps, 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

Fire station hosts community cycle course

Bike mad kids in Doncaster can pedal proficiently thanks to fire station hosted cycle safety sessions.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has teamed up with Doncaster Council to deliver the sessions at Thorne fire station, which proved to be a popular venue for the cycling course.

The fire station’s yard provided a safe environment to carry out the cycling lessons, which aim to increase the road safety knowledge of those who attend.

The ‘Bikeability’ course is facilitated by Pedal Ready Cycle Training and is open to individuals of all ages who are looking to either improve their current cycling ability or learn to ride a bike for the very first time. The course focuses on developing observation and manoeuvrability skills and provides an introduction to the Highway Code for young cyclists. Safety is also a main feature of the course and those who attend receive advice on how to be noticeable when riding on the roads as well as the importance of correctly fitting a cycle helmets.

Station Manager Mike Anthony, who has been working on this project, said: “We are looking to expand the involvement of fire crews in local community projects such as Bikeability. By using our stations for projects like this, we are able to improve safety within our communities and we hope that the sessions at Thorne fire station are to be the first of many.”

Andy Maddox, Business Development Officer for Doncaster Council, said: “We are delighted to support this project as we are keen to encourage more people into cycling more often. This scheme helps to facilitate this. The first session was very well attended and we look forward to a summer presence in Thorne.”

Pedal Ready Cycle provides free cycle training across the Doncaster area as well as Sheffield and Rotherham.  If you’d like to find out more, email admin@pedalready.co.uk or phone 0114 241 2775.