Water safety warning as heat wave continues

Firefighters are urging the public not to swim in lakes and reservoirs, with the current hot weather in South Yorkshire set to continue.

Safety officers say people should avoid open water- like rivers and lakes- because such areas are not designed for swimming as the water is often deeper, colder and faster than expected.

Around 400 people needlessly drown in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences. People should enjoy water safely in swimming pools or safer, specialist facilities instead.

Head of Community Safety Simon Dunker, said: “We often receive 999 calls during the summer months about people getting into difficulty in water. It’s only a matter of time before someone’s safety is really put at risk unless people listen to our advice.

“We understand it can be tempting to cool off when the weather in South Yorkshire is so hot, but stick to a swimming pool. Rivers, lakes or flooded quarries are completely unsuitable for swimming as they hide a number of hidden dangers.”

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, rarely reaching temperatures above 15 degrees Celsius in the UK
  • 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

Collaboration expansion for South Yorkshire Police and Fire

South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue has expanded its already successful collaboration programme, after appointing a Head of Joint Vehicle Fleet Management to maximise efficiency and effectiveness of both organisation’s fleet operations.

Sarah Gilding was appointed in to the role on 4 June 2018, after working for South Yorkshire Police for over 25 years. Her appointment marks a huge step forward towards the organisations’ objective of integrating fleet services under a single management and support structure, and exploring opportunities for further collaboration.

As part of her new role, Sarah will lead and develop a cost effective, efficient and resilient fleet management service for both South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue. She will also provide strategic oversight and management of all aspect of both organisations’ fleet services to help progress the objectives of both services.

Sarah said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as the Head of the Joint Vehicle Fleet Management Department for both South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police.  Both organisations’ Fleet departments provide an invaluable support service to ensure our key resources are available to meet demand and I am proud to have been chosen to lead such a service.”

Prior to Sarah’s appointment, both organisations were operating separate fleet departments with similar administrative and management roles, which were identified to be best managed through a joint centralised team.

The successful collaborative programme between South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue was launched in early 2017, to build on existing activities undertaken in collaboration between both organisations. The programme has already led to the creation of a Joint Police and Fire Station in Maltby, Rotherham, the development of a Joint Community Safety Department and the appointment of a Head of Joint Estates and Facilities Management.

Firefighter recruits put best feet forward at community tea dance

South Yorkshire residents have enjoyed a tea fit for the queen thanks to trainee wholetime firefighters.

Put on as part of their 12 week training programme, the new recruits from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue hosted an afternoon tea and dance for elderly local residents and those who may feel lonely or socially isolated. The new recruits spent all afternoon serving tea and cakes to local residents and attendees were also treated to special live performances from musicians Stevie Moore and Patricia Lynn.

As part of their training course, the new recruits have been observing and working with the service’s award-winning community safety team to understand the work they do to reduce the risk of fire for the more vulnerable groups in society.

Community Safety Co-ordinator Claire Walsh, said: “Social isolation in older people is a key area for us to address in South Yorkshire and we are working with our partners and other organisations to tackle this growing issue. This latest event 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 whilst also providing the new recruits with an understanding of the communities they will soon be serving.”

The event was hosted in partnership with Home Instead Senior Care Sheffield.

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

Lorraine Smith named MBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours

A South Yorkshire station manager has been named an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Lorraine Smith, aged 47, who lives in Holmfirth, has served at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue since 1997, with most of that time spent serving in its 999 Control room.

Before joining the fire service, Lorraine had worked for the armed forces, where she attained the rank of Sergeant.

In her private life, she has been a volunteer teaching adults with learning needs, fostered several children and acted as a mentor for new foster carers. A keen runner, she has also raised thousands of pounds for cancer charities.

Lorraine has been awarded her MBE for public service.