South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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

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Community safety projects deliver huge returns for South Yorkshire public

Work done by the service’s joint fire and police community safety team has saved society millions of pounds, in addition to making people safer, a report says.

Produced by a team of social return on investment experts, the report looks at different areas of work carried out by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police in recent years.

One of these projects is the fire service’s ‘Home Safety Visit’ scheme that, according to the findings, generates a potential £15 saving to society for every pound spent.

This is based on the economic cost to society of house fires and injuries – which are reduced as a result of safety visits – in comparison to the cost of the visits themselves.

The fire service’s ‘Safe & Well Check’ scheme was also evaluated in the report, as was ‘Think Family’ – a programme that targets the families of young people involved in arson.

These two initiatives have saved £30 and £25 for every pound spent on them, respectively, with the five areas of work examined estimated to have saved society around £30 million in total.

“Our community safety staff work tirelessly all year round and clearly we’re really pleased with the results of this study,” said Area Manager Steve Helps, head of the service’s joint police and fire community safety department.

“We’ve been able to see the success of our work in recent years through incident reductions but it’s really good for us to see what financial benefits have been brought about for local people.

“The reality is that the incidents we attend don’t just affect us. An arson attack, for example, affects our communities, our colleagues at the police, the court services and of course the owner of the property which has been damaged – be it on public land, such as in a park, or on private land.

“Then you take a house fire where someone’s been injured. Not only does it affect us but the ambulance service and local hospitals will be involved, too, as they will often spend thousands of pounds providing immediate care and long-term rehabilitation for those affected.

“There’s then the cost of repairing damage caused to the property and the effects on the occupants who may have to have time off work.

“By reducing incidents through the work the joint department has done we’ve not only been able to make South Yorkshire safer, but we’ve been able to save the public purse a lot of money, and we’re really proud of that.”

The other schemes evaluated in the study were Crucial Crew and the service’s programme of school presentations – of which there are three different types dependent on age group.

Crucial Crew, which is led by South Yorkshire Police staff, sees 16,000 year six school children spend a day at the Lifewise Centre in Rotherham each year – where they are taught about the impact of anti-social behaviour, cyber crime, arson and citizenship, along with much more.

The aim of this project is to build good relationships between children and police, prevent young people from being a victim of crime and also prevent them from getting involved in crime.

The research found that this saved £10 for every pound spent – as did the fire service’s programme of educational school visits.

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Final chance for people to have say on fire service plans

There’s less than a week to go for people to have their say on fire service plans to meet a financial shortfall of up to £4 million.

Draft plans considered by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s governing Fire Authority in May propose reducing the number of firefighters on a fire engine from five to four.

No firefighters would be made redundant under the proposals, with the reductions being achieved gradually as and when firefighters retire.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says the only realistic alternative to making the change- which has already been adopted by many other services nationwide- is to reduce the speed of its 999 response during the night time period from up to half of its fire stations.

The organisation faces cost pressures of up to £4 million, due to no longer being able to use a way of staffing fire stations called Close Proximity Crewing and because it may have to meet a significant, national shortfall in pension contributions.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson, said: “We’d rather not make any changes at all, but doing nothing is not an option. We think it’s better to reduce the number of firefighters on a fire engine, than it is to slow down response times to some of our communities by reducing the number of fire engines which are immediately available.

“We’re not making firefighters redundant and fire engines already ride with four people on them about a third of the time.”

“We’ve published our draft plans and invite the public to share their views on them before the consultation closes in a few days time.”

All fire and rescue authorities must provide a plan which sets out the steps they will take and resources they need to deliver public safety, reduce fires and save lives. This is known as an Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). It must be publicly available, reflect consultation with stakeholders and demonstrate the most up-to-date analysis of local risk.

People can share their views via an online survey, at www.syfire.gov.uk/haveyoursay, or in writing to IRMP Consultation, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, 197 Eyre Street, Sheffield S1 3FG.

Once the consultation period has ended on 5 August and feedback has been considered, Fire Authority members will make the final decision on the proposals.

ENDS

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Fire service asks for public help after hottest summer on record

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is asking the public to help reduce needless grass, garden and bin fires this summer after last year’s record heat led to a huge spike in incidents.

The service is today, Monday 22 July, launching its ‘Do Your Bit’ campaign to tie in with the six-week holidays – which figures show is prime time for these types of fire.

As part of the campaign fire officers are asking people to be extra careful with barbeques, hold off on garden bonfires and take specific action to reduce the risk of arson in their areas.

This includes only taking wheelie bins out on the morning of collection, rather than leaving them out overnight, ensuring streets and parks are clear of loose rubbish and reporting suspicious behaviour to South Yorkshire Police on 101.

It is hoped that, combined with a range of prevention work that the service has already done around this issue, the campaign will result in a reduction in incidents during the summer period and, ultimately, less strain on resources.

“This campaign ties together a lot of work that is being done across South Yorkshire – including arson prevention patrols by our fire crews and a programme of ‘light nights’ school visits by our community safety team,” said Station Manager Matt Gillatt, who works within the joint police and fire community safety department.

“Last summer was great for so many reasons but it was also unusually busy for us as a service. We were called to 1,560 deliberate secondary fires (grass, rubbish, bins, scrubland) in July and August alone – which is well over double the 692 we attended the year before.

“This is just one incident type, too. On top of the secondary fires are things like vehicle and accidental garden fires – and of course we’ve still got things like road traffic collisions, house fires and water rescues to deal with.

“Whilst we can’t control the weather we’re keen to try and crack down on some of these incidents – as clearly small fires all have the potential to spread and put people at risk. Fortunately, our insight suggests that many of them could have been prevented.

“This is why we’re asking the public for their help – by taking our advice and being a bit more vigilant around fire during hot weather we think people can make a real difference.”

As well as the arson prevention patrols and school visits, the service will be releasing a series of videos during the summer showing the impact that these incidents have on staff.

Firefighters will also be working with farmers to ensure they have adequate arson prevention measures in place, and that they know what to do should a fire hit.

Key advice to the public is:

  • Don’t leave wheelie bins out overnight and keep gardens and streets free of rubbish
  • Don’t have bonfires during warm weather and be careful with disposable barbeques – not just when using them but when binning them too
  • Report arson to the police and speak to your kids about the dangers of fire-setting

Reporting fly-tipping:

Fly-tipping is a problem for us. Loose rubbish, large or small, can be a target for arsonists. It also makes your local area look untidy.

Advice leaflet:

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Fire service funded youth project

Young people are learning life and social skills thanks to a fire service funded project.

In partnership with JADE Youth and Community Centre, we are helping hundreds of young people with activities that enable social, educational, economic and employment opportunities for their life progression.

The JADE Youth and Community Centre, based in Dinnington, Rotherham, has been partly funded by the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s funding scheme, Stronger Safer Communities Reserve.

The two year funded project, has been running for over a year and has seen great success with children from as young as 7 years old benefiting from the activities, projects and educational talks delivered.

JADE offers a safe and fun environment for young people to socialise and attend sessions covering fire safety, road traffic collisions and road safety, anti-social behaviour, drugs and alcohol.

Head of the Joint Community Safety Department Steve Helps said; “JADE has made a real impact on the lives of the young people who attend, offering a place to socialise and also to learn life values with the help of the amazing youth workers there who offer support and advice.”

A spokesperson from JADE said; “We really appreciate the support received from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) , the funding provided has enabled us to deliver much needed activities for children, young people and the wider community, creating a wide range of positive outcomes that support young people and address key community safety issues.

“Through our SYFR funded project, young people have taken part in educational activities that cover a diverse range of issues such as fire, road and water safety, drug and alcohol use and crime and offending, whilst being in a safe environment where they can socialise, access support and have fun.”

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Fire service could curb attendance at business false alarms to free up time for firefighters

The fire service could stop attending automatic fire alarms in commercial buildings like shops and office blocks unless it’s a confirmed blaze, in a bid to free up time for firefighters.

Currently South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue automatically sends fire engines to premises like shops and office blocks the moment a fire alarm goes off and the signal is passed, by a receiving centre, onto 999 control operators.

But 97% of the 3,457 automatic alarms the service attended in business premises in the last three years turned out to be false alarms. Fire crews wasted more than 1,000 hours investigating the cause of those false alarms- time which could have been better spent training, working in the community or being available to attend other, genuine incidents.

The change would bring South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in line with other services around the country, plus the position of the National Fire Chiefs Council on automatic fire alarms in commercial buildings. It would not apply to sleeping risk premises like hotels, hospitals or high rise flats though- with fire engines still being automatically turned out to automatic alarms at those premises.

Area Manager Andy Strelczenie, said: “False alarms make up a massive proportion of the incidents firefighters are mobilised too. Whilst we will always attend incidents when our services are definitely required, our frequent attendance at false alarms disrupts training and increases road risk to firefighters rushing on blue lights to incidents which later turn out to be false alarms.”

As well as responding to 999 calls, the fire service is responsible for enforcing fire safety laws.

Top safety tips for businesses include:

Keep fire escapes clear– make sure extra stock is stored away from fire escapes, ensuring staff and customers can get out safely in the event of a fire
Check alarm systems– regular checks and maintenance help to eliminate automatic false alarms and ensure the alarm is working if required
Complete a fire risk assessment– not only will it help to reduce the risk of suffering a fire in the first place, it will help make sure you comply with fire safety laws
Sprinklers– consider installing sprinklers, but make sure you leave a good distance between your stock and sprinkler heads

For more information visit www.syfire.gov.uk/business-advice

A paper outlining options for changing the service’s attendance at commercial automatic fire alarms will be discussed at the service’s governing Fire Authority on Monday (22 July).

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