Police and fire youth programme to celebrate 20th course achievement

The only Princes Trust youth development programme in the country to be jointly delivered by the fire and police services has helped more than 200 young people since going live three years ago.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is on the cusp of delivering its 20th Princes Trust Team Programme– most of them delivered in conjunction with South Yorkshire Police.

Team Programme is a 12 week personal development course for unemployed 16 to 25 year olds, offering work experience, qualifications, practical skills, community projects and a residential week.

Courses have been delivered in Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield and are always based at fire stations.

Ryan Ibbeson is among the young people who’ve been helped by taking part in the course.

Speaking at his graduation event in front of family and friends, he said:

“Before I came onto this programme I was simply sat in my bedroom doing absolutely nothing and pretty much wasting my life playing games and staying up all night until four in the morning. My head was also in a really bad place at the time to a point where I was sometimes thinking that there was simply no point of me being here anymore.

“But this course has made me believe that I’m here for a reason. What’s helped me more than anything is the people I have met as they have been fun to talk to and have always managed to keep me in a good mood.”

Another participant Shima Nazari said: “The programme helped me more than I thought it would. They helped me realise that if I put my mind to something, I will get something in return. I loved the team and wish I was able to do it again and again.

Head of the police and fire services’ joint community safety department Steve Helps, said: “We know that people’s life chances are determined early- which is why we think it’s so important to give people the skills and confidence they need to live their best life. We’re proud of the impact we’re made on more than 200 people and look forward to welcoming another batch of young people onto our twentieth programme.”

If you’re aged 16 to 25 and not currently in education, training or employment, sign up by emailing princestrust@syfire.gov.uk.

Young Barnsley homeless safer thanks for fire funding

Dozens of young homeless people in Barnsley are safer from fire, thanks to Fire Authority funding.

Centrepoint Barnsley has helped more than 110 people aged 16 to 25 by giving them training in fire, road and water safety ahead of them moving into fresh accommodation.

The charity has also distributed specially designed ‘move on packs’ containing everything from fire retardant bedding to safe cooking equipment- helping to give young people the safest possible start in their new homes.

Some have even been awarded ‘move on grants’ to help them buy reputable white goods, like fridges and tumble dryers. This avoids them buying cheap, dodgy appliances online which could put them at greater risk of fire.

Jacob, aged 23, and Megan, aged 17, are amongst the young people who’ve been helped under the scheme.

The couple were referred to a Centrepoint service in 2018, having been homeless for several months and sleeping in a local park. Megan was four months pregnant at the time of her arrival and the main concern for Centrepoint was to ensure that the family had a home to move in to when their baby was born.

The pair engaged in education modules at the fire and police service run Lifewise centre and were able to achieve qualifications in fire, road and water safety. This supported their application for a tenancy and they moved in to their own property a couple of weeks before their son George was born.

Megan and Jacob were also able to apply for a good quality white goods appliance for their property- an important safety measure for people on low incomes. Megan is now looking after George and Jacob enters into employment very soon.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “We were clear from the start that we wanted the funding the Fire Authority had made available to help us reach people in our communities who are most at risk of fire. The practical support and meaningful education this project has delivered to a targeted group of vulnerable young people is a brilliant illustration of how we’re achieving that goal.”

Centrepoint Barnsley works with the local authority and partners in the town to provide support accommodation. Along with a safe place to stay, it offers technical and practical support to help young people move on to live independently.

The charity’s ‘Engage, Educate, Encourage’ project was awarded £50,000 under South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s Stronger Safer Communities Reserve. The fund reinvests money into local communities to support our work to prevent emergencies. The money has been set aside from the Authority’s reserves.

Free moped and scooter training for young riders

South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership (SYSRP) is offering free moped and scooter training to young riders, as part of its work to reduce the number of young people killed or injured on the region’s roads.

The partnership  is giving all 16 to 24-year-olds who live or work in the county the chance to take part in extra training with a qualified instructor.

CBT Plus is aimed at riders who have recently passed their Compulsory Basic Training with the aim of improving their skills and confidence.

Joanne Wehrle, SYSRP manager, said: “This training opportunity forms a key part of our work to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads – statistics in which the 16-24 age group has been consistently over-represented.

“The course is usually £75 but thanks to funding from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, and a link up with local training providers, we can now offer it completely free of charge.

“We really hope that young people will take advantage of this offer and get the additional time with experienced riders.”

CBT Plus is a three-hour session and is designed to help riders to spot potential hazards earlier and react with greater confidence while overtaking, filtering, cornering and negotiating junctions, while also making them safer riders.

The session also includes discussions on the benefits of wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) and how to carry out basic vehicle safety checks which will also reduce running costs.

Joanne added: “CBT Plus offers a perfect opportunity to build on the knowledge and skills that riders learn during their basic training.

“The course is designed to enable riders to handle real-life road situations and meet the challenges of the county’s busy road networks.

“Offering further training will help them to get more enjoyment out of their scooter or motorbike and hopefully get them interested in becoming long term motorcycle riders.”

Further information about the scheme can be found on the Safer Roads Partnership website (sysrp.co.uk/cbtplus) where you can also apply for your code.

Riders must sign up by Monday 30 September.

Fire safety warning after property developer sentenced

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says the prosecution of Sheffield property developers for flouting fire safety laws at city centre student flats serves as a stark warning to landlords and developers.

Ashgate Property Developments Ltd was fined £36,000 when the firm was sentenced at Sheffield Magistrates Court on Tuesday (20 August 2019). The company was also ordered to pay the prosecution costs totalling £12,719.

The company pleaded guilty to three offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 relating to a student accommodation block on Rockingham Lane, Sheffield.

Following fire safety concerns raised by a resident, inspecting officers from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s business fire safety team visited the premises in October 2017.

During the fire safety inspection, and subsequent follow up visits, the service identified a number of serious fire safety concerns. These included the fact that there was poor fire separation between flats and the corridor escape route at the time that tenants moved in to the property. Dust covers had been left on smoke detectors and a roller shutter door which could have been used as an escape route in the event of a fire was found to be inadequate.

Inspectors issued an enforcement notice to ensure the defects were remedied and a prohibition notice preventing the roller shutter door from being closed at night.

Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “This verdict should serve as a stark warning to property developers and landlords that they have a duty under fire safety laws to ensure people sleeping in premises they’re responsible for are safe from the risk of fire”.

“If we find people are ignoring these responsibilities we won’t hesitate to prosecute and the sentence handed down in this case shows that the courts take these matters just as seriously as we do.”

Fire service staff celebrate Cutlers award win

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue staff members are celebrating a double award win at the Cutlers’ Company Police and Fire Service annual awards in recognition of their exemplary service.

Station Manager Thomas Hirst received the fire service individual award for his work in providing crews across the brigade with basic sign language training.

The training, developed in partnership with the Communication Specialist College Doncaster, provided crews with basic British Sign Language (BSL) in order to improve their communication skills when attending incidents in their local communities.

To put their new skills to the test, crews also took part in a realistic fire exercise based in the residential facilities at the college. Students played a part in the scenario which saw firefighters having to communicate using BSL in order to direct students safely of out the building.

The training was so popular that Tom also developed an e-learning package so that more firefighters could learn basic sign to be used at an incident.

The service’s training school administration team were recognised for their work in supporting a number of teams within the service in delivering vital projects and continually going above and beyond their day-to-day roles.

The team recently offered support and advice to wholetime firefighter recruits and in the last 14 -16 months have helped, assisted and supported upwards of 40 new trainees.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson said: “These awards are the best possible example of how we continually strive to be the best at everything we do. They 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, Nicholas Cragg.

Rossington community now safer thanks to joint effort

People in Rossington now have access to a new life-saving piece of equipment thanks to a joint effort from the fire service and local parish council.

The new piece of kit, a public access defibrillator, was installed on the outside of Rossington fire station earlier this month – and is now the third of its kind in the village.

It was purchased by the parish council and then donated to South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, with plans now afoot to identify other stations in Doncaster that could host this equipment.

“Clearly the more defibrillators we can have, in and around our communities, the better,” said Doncaster’s Group Manager, Shayne Tottie.

“We’re really pleased with this partnership and although we hope nobody ever has to use it, we’re glad to have made it three defibrillators in the Rossington village.

“I’d like to thank the parish council for donating this equipment to us and we’re now looking at other stations in the district where we could do something similar.

“Fighting fires is a key part of what we do, but it’s definitely not the only thing we do. Our vision is to make South Yorkshire a safer and stronger place and this new piece of kit definitely does that.”

Should it be needed the defibrillator can be accessed with a code provided by Yorkshire Ambulance Service’s 999 call handlers.

Statistics show that if a defibrillator is used within one minute of someone collapsing then their survival rate increases to 90 percent.

Anyone can use the equipment as there are clear instructions on how to attach the pads – with the machine itself then telling you if and when to administer a shock.

Thousands in Barnsley to be safer thanks to council and fire data sharing sign-up

Thousands of people in Barnsley will be safer from fire, thanks to a new arrangement between the council and fire service.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and Barnsley Council have signed an agreement which means the addresses of around 4,000 properties which receive assisted bin collections will be passed onto the fire service so that specialist staff can offer free smoke alarms and advice on stopping blazes to residents.

The council offers assisted bin collections to people with a disability or medical condition which prevents them from putting their bins out on their own. With known links between people receiving assisted collections and risk of fire, the agreement has been put in place so the fire service can contact people living at those addresses to offer them help.

Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “This is a brilliant example of where data protection laws- which are rightly in place to protect people’s information- should not get in the way of public bodies working together, in the public interest, to make people safer. By having the right safeguards and privacy protocols in place, we’ve shown that a common sense approach can cut duplication of effort and potentially save people’s lives.

“So many of the people who needlessly die in house fires are known to another agency whether that’s a local authority, social housing provider or health partner. So our aspiration is that, where appropriate, we can develop further data sharing agreements like this with other public services in the future under the legislation available to us.”

Cllr Alan Gardiner, Cabinet Spokesperson for Core Services at Barnsley Council, said: “It’s great that we can partner with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue to use our data to benefit our communities. Many residents who get an assisted waste collection have a disability or medical condition, so we’re pleased to be able to work with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue to provide people with even more support to keep them safe.”

Between 2011 and 2017, 53 people died in house fires in South Yorkshire. Many of those who died (61%) were older people aged 50 or over, with fire service investigations finding that issues such as hoarding, drugs, alcohol and mental health problems frequently contributing to the fires starting. Half of those who died lived on their own.

The fire service says the best way for partners to help is to sign-up to become a ‘Safe and Well’ partner. This is a scheme which aims to improve how the fire service and local organisations work together to effectively identify and reduce hazards for people most at risk.

Common measures to protect those most at risk include fitting smoke alarms, providing flame retardant bedding and installing misting systems to suppress fires.

For more information about the scheme and to ask about your organisation signing up to become a partner, click here