Local school children the stars of new International Women’s Day video

Anyone can be anything – that’s the message in a new heart-warming film from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) today, Friday 8 March.

You can watch the video here.

Produced in celebration of International Women’s Day, the video shows what happened when three female fire service staff spent a morning with year three schoolchildren.

The kids were asked what they would like to be when they grow up, and were asked to guess what jobs their guests did, before being shocked and inspired when they found out their real occupations.

Filmed at Mosborough Primary School, in Sheffield, the aim of the video is to highlight the range of career options within the fire and rescue service – and encourage local women to register their interest in careers with SYFR.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson, said that the film is part of a wider effort to change perceptions around the fire service being a male dominated organisation.

“We’ve come a long way in recent years but there’s still more to do – you only have to look at the fact I’m one of only four women in the country who hold such a similar senior position, and the figure that still only five per cent of firefighters are women, to see that,” she added.

“For so long the image of the fire service that is portrayed in films and the media is of men rushing into burning buildings, but the actual reality is so far from that. We do much more community and youth engagement work now where we need a variety of skills and people that are representative of South Yorkshire’s population.

“Of course our staff do go into burning buildings but this isn’t just men, we have both male and female firefighters who go through the same rigorous testing and training process to be able to ride on one of our fire engines.

“We also have loads of amazing women working in support roles and our control room, too, and International Women’s Day provides a perfect opportunity to celebrate the work that they do – and also try to inspire more women to think about a career with us.”

The video, which has been unveiled this morning, stars Bronte Jones, a firefighter at Rotherham fire station, Sharon ‘Shaz’ Bailey, a Maintenance Operative & Driver and Amanpreet Kaur, an ICT Applications Developer.

Bronte, who graduated from her training course in December last year, is a former Mosborough Primary School pupil.

She said: “My dad works in the fire service so I’ve grown up in the fire family. I’ve wanted to be a firefighter for as long as I can remember so passing my training course at the end of the year was a dream come true. Afterwards I just thought wow, I’ve actually done it!

“There’s a lot of common misconceptions around firefighting but, man or woman, you only pass the training course – which is tough and physically demanding – if you are fit and strong enough to do the job properly.

“Of course there are times when it gets hard but, like I said to the kids at school, if you fully commit to it, work hard and maintain your standards, then you can do it – regardless of your gender. Personally I think it is the best job in the world, it’s so rewarding.

“From day one of the recruits course you are part of a team – you have the support of your fellow trainees and then the experienced instructors who guide you along the way. Then you get to station and, even though I’ve only been at Rotherham for a few months, my crew have already become my work family. Together your colleagues pass on all the knowledge they have gained over the years to shape you into the best firefighter you can be.”

Anybody interested in a career with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue can register their interest, to receive future job notifications, at www.syfire.gov.uk/find-a-job/register-your-interest/.

Older people benefiting from new slipper swap initiative

A fire service funded project in South Yorkshire is helping to prevent trips and falls in older people in their homes.

The Edlington Community Organisation, in partnership with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) has been inviting older people (50+) to bring along their old slippers and exchange them for a new safer slip-resistant pair for free.

The two year slipper swap project aims to be used in conjunction with information events to encourage the elderly and vulnerable into community venues to access other support focusing on fall prevention, Safe and Well checks and dementia awareness.

Since the start of slipper swap over 1,000 pairs of slippers have been given out along with 200 fire safety kits and 70 Safe & Well referrals.

Donations of all old slippers are re-donated to local Lions Clubs and community clothing banks who pass them on to other groups most in need within England or third world countries

The Edlington Community Organisation were awarded £39,000 for the project under the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s funding scheme, Stronger Safer Communities Reserve.

SYFR Head of Prevention & Protection Steve Helps said; “The project so far has been really successful with a large number of Safe & Well referrals generated which has strengthened our knowledge and referral scheme through collaborative working with our partner agencies.

“It has also made it possible for older people in the community to live safer and be more prepared for living in their own homes in the future.”

Samantha Siddall at Edlington Community Organisation said; “A pair of slip resistant, fitted slippers not only stops you from falling but also reduces the pressure on emergency services and ensures older people remain independent and active. The free slippers are also a great way to get people into other services and accessing a variety of information and advice within their community.”