Cutlers’ success for fire service with double award win

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has scooped two gongs at the Cutlers’ Company Police and Fire Service annual awards.

Station Manager Chris Mee took home the individual prize for his achievements in providing realistic fire training to firefighters.

The training, developed in partnership with Barnsley Council and Berneslai Homes, involved the lighting of real fires within soon to be demolished residential properties, providing firefighters with realistic training scenarios.

Due to its success, the project has been widely discussed up and down the UK as a potential opportunity for other fire and rescue services to explore. Thus far, over 150 South Yorkshire operational staff members have gained valuable realistic experience from these exercises.

The service’s Business Fire Safety team were recognised for their local work in response to the Grenfell Tower disaster. Alongside carrying out usual business fire safety activities, the team coordinated and undertook fire safety audits at 43 Local Authority High Rise residential buildings and 44 at privately owned high rise buildings within South Yorkshire, met with hundreds of residents and delivered specialist training to firefighters.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson said: “We strive to be the best at everything we do, so these award wins are a fantastic achievement for the fire service and provide well deserved recognition for the hard and varied work our staff do on a daily basis to keep the public of South Yorkshire safe.”

The awards, which took place in the Cutlers’ Hall, Sheffield, were presented by the Master Cutler, Ken Cooke.

Firefighters graduate from South Yorkshire recruits course

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s latest group of new recruits has successfully graduated following 13 weeks of intensive training.

The group of eleven 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 that they have learnt over the last three months. There was also a special performance from the City of Sheffield Pipe Band.

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 much anticipated award for Top Recruit went to Firefighter Ian Hibberd who was presented with the silver axe.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden, said: “Well done to our newest firefighters who have beaten off competition from hundreds of other applicants, they really are the best of the best and are a credit to both themselves and their loved ones.

“The intensive course they have been on will prepare them for a challenging yet rewarding career with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service. The training they’ve received covers the wide and varied role of a modern firefighter, 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.”

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

Businesses asked to back up alarms as fire service battles heatwave

The fire service has called on businesses to back up automatic fire alarms with 999 calls, as it battles higher than average call volumes during the heatwave.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue automatically attends certain industrial and commercial premises which are fitted with specialist fire alarm systems, despite the call outs almost always turning out to be false alarms.

With 999 operators handling hundreds of calls a day and firefighters attending dozens more incidents than usual during the current hot spell, officers want building managers of non-life risk premises to dial 999 to confirm there’s definitely a fire.

Group Manager Andy Hayter, said: “Most false alarms are caused by faulty fire detection equipment, people setting alarms off by accident, not following correct fire alarm test procedure or building managers failing to investigate the cause of the fire alarm.

“Whilst we will always attend incidents where there is definitely a fire, this short term, common sense measure will help to ensure that our fire engines are available to attend genuine emergencies if they do occur.”

To reduce false alarms, businesses should check their alarm systems regularly and train staff properly on what to do if an alarm sounds.

Crews issue safety warning following battery blaze

Firefighters are warning the public about the potential dangers posed by purchasing unbranded electrical goods on the internet after an incident in which a battery bought online caught fire.

Crews from Elm Lane, Rotherham and Parkway green watch recently attended the incident in Kimberworth, Rotherham. Upon arrival crews found that the battery, which was for a head torch, had set alight whilst on charge and the fire had quickly spread to the kitchen units. This had caused a large amount of smoke logging in the property, damaging the hallway and stairway.

Luckily, the property had two new working smoke alarms which had been fitted by the fire service and they successfully alerted the occupier, who was sat in the rear garden at the time, to the fire.

Firefighters used a hose reel and breathing apparatus to extinguish the flames and also ventilated the property.

Upon leaving, crews ensured the two smoke alarms that had sounded were replaced with new alarms.

There are some simple things you can do to prevent electrical fires. For example:

  • Don’t buy cheap, unbranded chargers and make sure chargers or other electrical items are compatible to the device you are using
  • Don’t leave things to charge overnight or beyond the recommended charging time. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Keep electrical items away from flammable materials when charging
  • Don’t overload sockets– long, strip adaptors are safest, but can only take a total of 13 amps

Praise for firefighters and public safety plea as hot dry weather continues

Fire officers have praised crews for their work in tackling a higher than average number of incidents- and called on the public help prevent blazes.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s control room handled 336 emergency calls in the last 24 hours (8am Monday 23 July to 8am Tuesday 24 July), with crews being mobilised to 87 incidents across the county, including some which took several hours to tackle.

Many of the incidents the fire service has dealt with have been grass and rubbish fires, or in some cases bonfires which have spread to sheds, shrubs and trees.

Head of Emergency Response Tony Carlin, said: “Our crews are providing a fantastic service in what are clearly very hot, difficult firefighting conditions. We are proud of each and every one of our firefighters and control operators and they are rightly receiving praise from the public during what is a busier than usual period for us.

“But with the forecast set to remain warm and dry for several weeks, we really need people to help us, help them by taking some basic precautions to prevent fires. For example, take rubbish with you if you are out and about in the countryside as glass bottles and cigarette ends can easily start fires.

“We’d much rather people put off having garden bonfires until the hot, dry weather has subsided, but if you do insist on having a fire make sure it is sited well away from sheds, buildings and trees and don’t leave it unattended.

“And with around three quarters of all the fires we attend being arson, report people starting fires in your area to police 101 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.”

For more information on preventing fires visit www.syfire.gov.uk

South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue sign joint collaboration agreement

Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police Stephen Watson, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive Jamie Courtney, Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings and Chair of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor Chris Lamb, have today signed the joint collaboration agreement to outline the terms and vision of the collaborative work between the organisations.

The strategic agreement formalises the roles, responsibilities, aims and objectives of the partnership to build on the existing and effective collaborations achieved so far.

The successful collaboration programme between South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue was launched to build on and develop existing and future activities undertaken in collaboration between both organisations.

This programme, which began in early 2017, 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 Vehicle Fleet Management and Head of Joint Estates and Facilities Management.

This collaborative work continues to grow and develop and will see the organisations co-operating together to carry out joint public service functions, identify solutions and enable sharing of best practice.

South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable, Stephen Watson said: “This collaboration between South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue will ensure that we can give the best possible service to the public, in a cost effective way. We have successfully worked in collaboration with the fire service for a number of years and this agreement now formalises that activity. “

Fire Authority Chair Cllr Chris Lamb, said: “The Fire Authority and its members fully support the provision of a strong fire and rescue service, including the pursuit of close working with other emergency services where there is a clear benefit to local people. We hope that the signing of this agreement will help to continue our strong progress in this area.”

Chief Fire Officer James Courtney, said: “Whilst there is now a legal duty on all emergency services to work more closely together, for us the real benefits of collaboration with the police, ambulance and other fire services are to the communities we serve. Whilst we still believe each of the emergency services should retain their own unique skills, brand and specialisms, we want to show local people that we are serious about providing them with the most efficient and most effective services possible. The signing of this agreement helps to demonstrate our commitment to that goal.”

Dr Alan Billings South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I very much welcome this Collaboration Agreement as a first step in greater working together.

“The motivation is to make for more effective working together; but it will also enable savings to be made, as in the case of some joint appointments.

“I am sure the public will support bringing these two vital public services together to make South Yorkshire a safer place.”

Young people’s inspiration for Goldthorpe wildlife haven

A project to transform a rubbish strewn former railway embankment into a wildlife haven was got underway, having been kick started by young people on a fire and police led development course two years ago.

Young people on South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police’s Prince’s Trust Team Programme cleaned and painted three unloved bridges in Goldthorpe, Barnsley in 2016 as part of an award-winning community project.

The initiative helped to renew interest in the space, which had become blighted with flytipping.

Now work is underway to turn an area of disused railway embankments beneath the bridges into a new outdoor destination for residents and nature, after the Dearne Area Council Team established ‘The Railway Embankment Group’ in response to the frustrations of local residents.

During the initial stage of the project, architecture students from Sheffield University worked with residents to create a vision for the area.  The Railway Embankment Group and local volunteers meet regularly, and carried out litter picks and campaigns to clean up the area ready for the work to begin.  Pupils from Goldthorpe Primary School have made bird boxes and a hedgehog hotel for the scheme to encourage wildlife to the area, which will be placed at the site once the access route is complete.

The scheme is due to complete in 2019 and once finished the embankment will feature an orchard and wildflower area, with a new access route to allow people to get into the site. The site will be used for local environmental and wildlife sessions for all of the community to benefit. Interpretation boards designed by the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership will be installed to provide visitors with the history and facts about the site.

Princes Trust Team Leader John Daley, said: “This project is evidence of the lasting impact that young people completing our courses can have. I am proud of the legacy we left in this area, contributing to a renewed interest in an unloved community space.

“The mix of modern ideas for conservation combined with Goldthorpe’s industrial heritage are a breath of fresh air for this former unofficial tip and far from the original ideas which would have seen them disappear completely leaving nothing for the young people in the area to remember their proud heritage with.  The embankment team have worked tirelessly with other agencies to see this massive project take root and fired the imagination of everyone involved.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police teamed up with the Prince’s Trust to deliver the Team Programme more than two years ago. During that time around 200 young people have benefited from the 12 week personal development course for unemployed 16 –to25 year olds, offering work experience, qualifications, practical skills, community projects and a residential week.

The courses are based at fire stations and are the only programmes of their type in the country to be jointly delivered by fire and police services. For more information or to sign-up, email princestrust@syfire.gov.uk

Grass fire warning during hot weather

Fire crews are warning the public to take extra care during this period of hot weather to avoid any accidental grass fires.

During hot and dry weather the risk of grass fires increases, but following a few simple steps can greatly reduce the chance of a fire starting.

Fire officers are asking people to help prevent grass fires by:

• Not using open fires in the countryside

• Making sure any barbecue or disposable barbecue is only used in a suitable location and is extinguished properly after use

• Extinguishing cigarettes completely and not throwing cigarette ends on the ground

• Not leaving bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires

Fire crews want their resources available to protect the communities of South Yorkshire, incidents involving accidental grass fires can use up a lot of these vital resources.

Man found drowned in Doncaster

A man has been found dead after entering water near to Straight Lane, Skelbrooke, Doncaster.

Firefighters joined police and ambulance crews in searching for and recovering the casualty, who is believed to be a 19 year old man.

The fire service attended the incident around 8.35pm last night, mobilising four fire engines including specialist water rescue crews.

Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the man who died.

South Yorkshire students targeted with latest road safety package

The fire service is launching a new road safety package geared towards educating Year 10 students across South Yorkshire about how to keep safe on the roads. 

The ‘H16HWAY’ package has been developed by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, with support from the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership, and aims to provide young people with the tools and advice they need to keep safe on the roads as pedestrians, cyclists, scooter riders and passengers.  

Head of prevention and protection Steve Helps, said: “Every death on our roads is a tragedy, but it is even more keenly felt when it is a young person who loses their life. Young people are over represented in our casualty statistics when it comes to road traffic collisions, therefore it’s important they receive reminders about the safe use of our roads to prevent them from becoming victims.”  

Joanne Wehrle, Safer Roads Manager at South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership, said: “Unfortunately, there have been a total of 1522 children and young people between the ages 10 to 16 reported as injured over the last 5 years (2013-2017) on South Yorkshire roads. Of this number, 275 of them, tragically, were either killed or seriously injured as a pedestrian, passenger in a car or as the rider of a motorcycle. 

“We support packages like H16HWAY in helping us to deliver key road safety information and advice to young people in a bid to encourage safer behaviours.” 

The new package is to be delivered by Fire Community Safety Officers and will involve film clips and group discussions. Each session will last for approximately one hour and the package is free of charge.  

The service is looking to deliver the first sessions in schools around South Yorkshire from September 2018. 

As one of the single biggest killers of young people, ‘H16HWAY’ will focus on a number of road safety topics: 

•         Pedestrians – Distractions, risky behaviour and finding safe places to cross the road

•         Cyclists – Undertaking long vehicles, blind spots, hi-vis items and bike maintenance

•         Scooter riders – Wearing the appropriate gear and minimising the risk of road rash

•         Passengers – Wearing seatbelts, the risks of driver distractions and what to do if you feel unsafe in a vehicle

•         What to do in an emergency situation 

Any schools requiring further information about the “H16HWAY” package or to book a session, please contact South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue education advocate Julie Claytor on 07990 951643 / jclaytor@syfire.gov.uk or Community Safety Co-ordinator Claire Walsh 0776841802 cwalsh@syfire.gov.uk.