Firefighter provides fire safety education on trip to South Sudan

A firefighter from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has just returned back to the UK after spending two weeks improving fire safety in migrant camps in South Sudan.

Clare Holmes, a watch manager on Rotherham blue watch, was part of a team of six volunteers who were approached by the ‘Women in the Fire Service’ network to visit the camp, after a request they’d received from an aid charity.

During the two week trip, the team provided ‘train the trainer’ courses for United Nations (UN) camp staff which included community fire safety advice and burn and scald prevention information. Clare and the team also carried out a fire safety assessment of the camp, which is occupied by roughly 120,000 people.

Many camps in South Sudan can hold thousands of people living in makeshift accommodation in close proximity to one another, with schools, hospitals and markets all adding to the risk of fire.  As well as this, all cooking takes place on open fires and fire service response is limited.

Clare said: “The greatest risk in camps like the one we visited in South Sudan is during the dry season which runs from November to March, so it was important to put into place fire safety measures as soon as possible.

“The community were very receptive to our visit and found the training and advice very beneficial. The site staff that we trained will now be able to pass on fire safety guidance to thousands of people living in the camps and hopefully reduce the risk of a fire starting.

“I hope that our work can make the lives of the people we visited safer for years to come.”

The trip to South Sudan was supported by Fire Aid, a charity which provides donations of fire and rescue equipment and training to those in need of such assistance.

The charity recently visited South Sudan in March 2018 and identified a number of substantial fire risks including a lack of awareness of fire safety. It was from this that Women in the Fire Service were asked to request if any of their members could volunteer for a second visit to the country.

It is hoped there will be a follow up visit in 2019.

Staff fund and host Christmas dinner for rough sleepers

Rough sleepers from in and around Sheffield were served a three course Christmas dinner today (Wednesday 12 December) at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s headquarters.

The meal, which consisted of turkey and all the trimmings, was paid for by fire service staff and cooked by the service’s chef. Guests were then served a syrup sponge pudding.

The attendees ate in the service’s café facility, which is shared with Age UK Sheffield, after being invited in by Framework’s Street Outreach team. The leftover food from the event has since been sent to the Salvation Army who will be using it to provide their beneficiaries with a Christmas dinner this evening.

Area Manager Tony Carlin, who has led on getting the meal set up, said: “Working with our partners on the Weather Watch scheme has really brought home for us the issue of homelessness in Sheffield and we, with the support of our staff, wanted to give some rough sleepers at least one hot meal this Christmas.

“For us this is a small gesture but hopefully it will go a long way. Everyone who attended the meal was extremely grateful and, whilst it was great for them to get a dinner, the important thing is that our partner agencies were on hand to offer support too.”

Members of staff based at the service’s headquarters donated £5 each to sponsor one meal for a rough sleeper – with any excess money going towards the Red Cross Weather Watch scheme.

Following the event, the service has set up a JustGiving page – with all proceeds going towards Framework Housing Association. This can be found here.

“We’ve had a lot of people asking us how they can help, so we’ve set up a JustGiving page as part of this event. This means that anybody who wants to contribute can do so by donating a sum of their choice, however big or small,” added Tony.

If you’re worried about someone sleeping rough please call Framework on 0800 066 5358 or Text SOTS to 80800 followed by your message, or visit

Electrical safety quiz – how safe are you?

How safe are you when it comes to electrics in your home?

How safe are your pets?

As part of our Protect Your Pets campaign we’ve designed the below quiz to see how much you know about electrical fire safety.

Have a go for your chance to win one of a great prize collection – including tickets to Yorkshire Wildlife Park, tickets to the Grenoside Pantomime Group’s Aladdin performance and a portable bluetooth speaker worth £35.

We will draw the prize winners on Wednesday 19 December. If you’ve won, we’ll be in touch.

#ProtectYourPets - Electrical Fire Safety Quiz

  • This form collects some personal information - which will be used to contact the randomly selected quiz winner and subsequently be destroyed. By submitting the form you are agreeing for your data to be used in this way.

Fire crews carry out hazardous material training exercise

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue crews from the Barnsley District recently carried out an operational exercise at the Elsecar Heritage Centre in Elsecar.

The exercise was created to test the skills of crews when responding to an incident in which an unknown hazardous material is involved. Elsecar Heritage centre staff played a key role on the day by undertaking role play, allowing crews to deal with real-life casualties.

Delroy Galloway, station manager at Tankersley fire station, said: “Realistic training of this type allows crews to take part in training scenarios that prepare us for actual incidents in the future. This exercise was designed to improve operational effectiveness, firefighter safety and public safety and at times of heightened security.

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

This is the second exercise South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has undertaken at the site and other scenarios are being planned to allow crews to train in a realistic environment alongside personnel at the railway site.

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


Service opens doors to rough sleepers

Up to eight people will be able to stay overnight at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s (SYFR) Headquarters, on Eyre Street in Sheffield, this winter – with British Red Cross volunteers on hand to welcome them.

This is thanks to a partnership between various agencies – including Sheffield City Council, British Red Cross, Framework and South Yorkshire Police – and comes into action when the council activates its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol when the weather gets very cold.

Known locally as Weather Watch, the scheme offers somewhere safe and warm for rough sleepers.

Area Manager Tony Carlin said: “Helping people in need and saving lives is core to our mission as a fire service, so it makes perfect sense for us to provide emergency accommodation during particularly severe weather periods.

“This initiative provides comfort, warmth and shelter for rough sleepers and the homeless and is a clear example of public agencies working together to help some of the most vulnerable people in our area.”

Anyone who is homeless, or at risk of losing their accommodation, can call Sheffield City Council on 0114 273 6306 during office hours, or 0800 7311 689 outside office hours.

When Weather Watch kicks in, SYFR will be opening the doors at ‘Central Headquarters’ on the coldest nights at 9pm and places are allocated by contacting Sheffield City Council on the numbers above or by calling into First Point at Howden House.

Staff at HQ will link people up to the Council’s Out of Hours Service when places are full, so that warmth and shelter can be found elsewhere.

Richard Crow, British Red Cross emergency response officer for South Yorkshire said: “We have responded to a request from Sheffield City Council alongside South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue to support at this scheme providing emergency shelter to the homeless in the city. British Red Cross volunteers and staff will be on hand to provide practical and emotional support, including the provision of hot food and drinks, and signposting service users to longer-term support where needed.

“The Red Cross responds to an emergency every four hours across the UK, working with partners to help people in crisis.”

If you’re worried about someone sleeping rough please call Framework on 0800 066 5358 or Text SOTS to 80800 followed by your message, or visit You can also call the Weather Watch numbers on someone’s behalf (0114 273 6306 or 0800 7311 689 outside office hours) but please do this when you’re with the person so they can provide extra information.

Councillor Jim, Steinke, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety at Sheffield City Council, said: “The fire station gives us extra places for people at risk of sleeping rough on the coldest nights, and is somewhere safe and warm.

“I’m incredibly grateful to the fire service and the British Red Cross, and all their staff and volunteers, for working with us on this.

“Homelessness is a growing problem and extra duties placed on councils means increased demand for services. But through this partnership work we’re able to offer more help to more people, which is what we want as a city.”

For more information about help for rough sleepers visit or

Who has helped you?

Has someone gone the extra mile for you? Say thank you to someone who has made a difference to you or someone you know.

We want to give a public voice to our staff recognition so that some of our hidden heroes across our fire stations and support teams can get the thank you they deserve.

We know our staff can often make a massive difference to people’s lives through their work to make local people safer- whether it’s attending emergencies, fitting smoke alarms, visiting schools or helping out in their communities.

From firefighters and community safety teams, to volunteers and reception staff, anyone who works for South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue can be nominated.

To nominate someone, simply head over to our Facebook page (click here) let us know the name of the person and explain in your own words why they should be recognised. Don’t worry if you don’t remember the exact names of the people who helped, just let us know the area and date that you received a good service from us and we should be able to track them down.

If you don’t use Facebook you can also email us at: with the details of who you’d like to nominate.

We’ll share some of our favourite stories on social media and the overall winners will be presented awards at our Long Service Good Conduct staff awards ceremony next year.