South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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South Yorkshire amongst winners as national awards recognise women in the fire service champions

Amazing staff at the heart of championing the role of women in the fire service have been recognised as part of a major national awards scheme.

Winners of the fire sector’s ‘Women In The Fire Service’ awards include both men and women who have developed, encouraged and reinforced the role of women in the sector.

Women continue to be underrepresented in the UK fire and rescue service, with only six per cent of operational firefighters being female.

Amongst the winners at this year’s awards, which were organised by Women In The Fire Service UK, is Tim Pope from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.

The Organisation Development Advisor beat off competition from nine other nominees to secure the ‘Men As Allies’ award at the Women In The Fire Service annual awards.

The award recognises men working in the fire and rescue service who work to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in the UK fire sector.

As part of his role, Tim has led the service’s positive action work to inspire a more diverse range of local people to consider a role in the fire and rescue service.

Jules Kind, WFS Chair & Awards Panel judge said “ Tim is living proof that it doesn’t matter how senior you are or what role you do to be able to pack a punch and make a real difference. Being a male ally in male dominated culture can be tricky, but is such an important part of changing culture, tackling inclusion and takes the spotlight away from those who are new and/or different who are still finding their voice.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Rebecca Savin and Fleur Holland were also shortlisted for awards, in the ‘rising star’ and ‘shining light’ categories respectively.

Established as a self-help group, WFS UK is a volunteer-led, non-profit organisation managed by a board and an elected national committee of women fire professionals. It specialises in delivering training and development events aimed at women. These events are opportunities to network, learn new skills, and mix with peers from all areas across the service.

WFS provides information and advice to women who are contemplating a career in the fire service, speaks in schools and careers fairs and at fire and rescue service equality, diversity and inclusion events.

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Safe & Well – update for partners

We are continuing to carry out high risk home safety visits only, in order to protect our staff and the public we serve.

This is due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic that has also forced us to suspend all school visits, cancel station-based events and close the Lifewise Centre in Rotherham.

We are still encouraging people to make safe & well referrals and request home safety checks – there will just be a delay in us carrying these out unless they are deemed as immediately high risk.

The term ‘risk’ means different things to different agencies but partners should be assured that we will get round to handling each referral as soon as possible.

Anyone deemed as being extremely vulnerable to fire will receive a visit from one of our Fire Community Support Officers.

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South Yorkshire house fire figures drop to all time low

The amount of house fires in South Yorkshire is the lowest it has been for 10 years, the county’s fire service has revealed.

Figures published by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue today, Wednesday 10 June, show that firefighters attended 472 accidental dwelling fires during the last financial year – 2019/20.

That is a 13 percent reduction on the previous year – 2018/19 – during which there was 542 such incidents, and is a 29 percent reduction on the 664 attended in 2010/11.

Importantly, the fire service says, it is the first time since records began that the amount of yearly accidental house fires has been in the 400s.

“It goes without saying that this is excellent news and testament to the hard work of our staff over the last decade – during what has been a challenging time for the public sector,” said Area Manager Simon Dunker, head of the joint police and fire community safety team.

“Every home safety check, every school visit and every safety campaign has contributed towards this reduction and we must also note the co-operation of each and every member of the public who has taken on board our safety advice.

“There’s still more to be done, though. The 472 accidental house fires we had last year were 472 too many and our work to make South Yorkshire safer and stronger will carry on into the next decade, and beyond, to try and reduce these incident numbers further.”

The service has also unveiled the number of home safety visits its staff have done in the last few years, with 68,000 being logged since the start of 2016, four years ago.

Fire services are required, by the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, to promote fire safety and proactively help reduce the risk their communities face.

This means undertaking things such as home safety visits and safe & well checks, visiting schools and developing partnerships with other agencies that help benefit the public.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue also prides itself on being one of the country’s leading fire and rescue services when it comes to delivering community safety campaigns.

Its recent Protect Your Pets campaign helped reduce electrical fires by 30 percent – whilst the Do Your Bit campaign drove down deliberate fires set during the summer months.

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Service hails ‘life saving’ sprinklers as part of awareness week

South Yorkshire’s fire service is seeking to remind people this week that sprinklers save lives, as part of a national ‘Think Sprinkler’ awareness campaign.

The message comes after a retrofitted system stopped a chip pan fire, which could otherwise have seriously hurt two sleeping occupants and destroyed their Doncaster flat, in its tracks earlier this year.

It also comes only months after the service revealed that a £1million sprinkler fund, put aside by the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority, has part-funded 20 installations over the last five years.

These installations have seen around 650 flats, which are home to some of the county’s most vulnerable people, be fitted with the life-saving devices.

“I’ve said before that sprinklers are a reliable and cost-effective way of stopping fires from growing and spreading – this incident proved that,” said Roger Brason, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s sprinkler advocate.

“These devices really do save lives and we were keen to support the Think Sprinkler to remind people how effective they are, offer some insight into how they work and dispel any myths – starting with the fact that the chance of a sprinkler malfunction is 16 million to one!

“We’ve done a lot of work in the last five years to make these installations happen and are proud to have built a reputation as a leading fire and rescue service when it comes to advocating sprinklers, but there’s always more to do.

“We want to see more sprinkler systems in more buildings across South Yorkshire – particularly in residential settings. I’d encourage any building owners that want to know more about the benefits that sprinklers bring to get in touch.”

The incident earlier this year took place on Hatfield House, which is managed by St Leger Homes who – with the support of Doncaster Council and SYFR – have had sprinklers fitted in all nine of their high rise buildings across the borough.

Other part-funded projects include Churchfield Sheltered Housing in Barnsley and the St Wilfrid’s Centre in Sheffield – the latter seeing a system installed in a new, 20-bed residence that houses adults with complex needs.

Sprinkler Week is led by the National Fire Chiefs Council, supported by fire services across the country, and runs from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 May.

You can find out more about the wide range of benefits sprinklers bring, as well as the service’s position on them, at www.syfire.gov.uk.

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Praise for control room staff after flat fire rescue

Staff within South Yorkshire’s fire control room – who take the fire service’s 999 emergency calls – have been praised by the county’s Chief Fire Officer after a recent flat fire in Sheffield.

Firefighters were mobilised to the blaze on Wensley Green, Sheffield, at 10.19am on Friday 1 May – with a man understood to be trapped and a bedroom well alight.

As the crews travelled to the flat, from Elm Lane and Central fire stations, they were given specific information around the location of the man.

This information, which came from control blue watch, meant the first firefighters in attendance could make an immediate rescue, without delay.

Following the incident, which ended with the man safely rescued, crews described the control room staff as angels on their shoulders.

“Our firefighters do an incredible job, often putting themselves at great risk to help others, but it’s so important to remember the life-saving work of our control operators, too,” said Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson.

“Not only do they co-ordinate our incident response, ensuring fire engines get to the right place at the right time, they gather a huge amount of vital information for firefighters on the ground. This incident is a really good example of that.

“They also, time and time again, provide fire survival guidance for people in their darkest moments – offering a reassuring voice and advice on how to stay safe until fire crews arrive. I’d like to say a big thank you to every single one of them.”

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Service thanks communities for keeping fire safe during lockdown

Property fires across South Yorkshire look to have dropped by almost a quarter during lockdown, according to the county’s fire service.

The reduction, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says, is pleasing – with firefighters expecting a slight increase due to large amounts of people spending more time at home.

Latest figures show that crews attended 157 primary fire incidents across Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley, between 23 March and 23 April. This, when compared to the same time periods in recent years, is a reduction of 23 percent.

Primary fires involve traditional house fires as well as other insurable property such as commercial properties, vehicles and larger outbuildings.

This comes after the service launched a lockdown-specific safety campaign, Keep Fire Safe, on Saturday 21 March – just days before the Government’s instruction on staying home.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Tony Carlin, said: “The drop is down to the hard work of staff, as well as the public’s co-operation, during the on-going pandemic.

“At such a challenging time, when we expected to see a slight increase in incidents due to people spending so much more time at home, this is really welcome news.

“Our operational fire crews and dedicated fire safety teams have been working hard since lockdown began – making welfare calls to those who may be vulnerable, dropping smoke alarms off, engaging with businesses and more – and it’s clearly made a positive difference.

“This reduction in calls is also down to people across South Yorkshire who have taken on board our advice and taken steps to protect themselves, and their loved ones, from fire. They are our heroes right now and they have played their part so well.

“I’d like to thank them, and will also be thanking our staff, for their efforts. These are tough times for us all but we will get through it together, and I’d urge everyone to continue to follow Government advice during the lockdown.”

More information on the service’s latest campaign is available at www.syfire.gov.uk where you will find a safety quiz that gives entrants a chance to win one of two, £100 Amazon vouchers.

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Saying no to garden fires during the on-going pandemic

Firefighters across South Yorkshire are asking people to pledge not to have a garden fire during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

This latest plea comes as South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue saw a huge spike in garden fires during the last week in March – a 161 percent increase compared to a normal week.

The service has also been contacted by a number of residents who have found it hard to physically leave their homes to exercise, due to the smoke coming from local garden fires where people have been burning garden and household waste.

Their message is also being backed by local authorities across the county, with an increase in air pollution being shown to negatively affect the health of those with respiratory illnesses.

“We fully appreciate that people will have excess waste, given they are spending much more time at home, but we would really discourage people from burning it off in the garden,” said Station Manager Steve Jones, who works in the joint police and fire community safety team.

“If a garden fire gets out of control, which so easily happens, we have to send a full crew to deal with it. The smoke can also cause real issues for people with respiratory illnesses – we’ve had reports from some people who haven’t been able to go out in their own gardens.

“At a time when we all need to come together we’re asking that, whilst they’re staying at home, people head to our website and pledge not to have a garden fire during the on-going pandemic – it only takes 30 seconds and will make a big difference.”

To sign the pledge, visit www.syfire.gov.uk/pledge.

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Take the pledge – no bonfires during the pandemic

In pledging not to have a garden fire during the on-going pandemic, you will be supporting your firefighters and people with respiratory illnesses. Every pledge makes a difference.

#KeepFireSafe - Garden Fire Pledge V2

    This helps us identify where we need to target our appeal, next.
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Personal protective equipment (PPE) on its way to South Yorkshire social care teams

A delivery of personal protective equipment which arrived in South Yorkshire yesterday, is now on its way to social care teams across the county.

Hundreds of thousands of pieces of kit including aprons, gloves and masks were delivered to South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s training centre in Sheffield yesterday afternoon (Monday 6 April).

It was there that military planners and fire and rescue service staff broke down the supplies and delivered them to the local authorities in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield for distribution to front line workers.

The equipment had been sent to South Yorkshire from the government’s national distribution centre.

Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson said: “Workers are right on the frontline of caring for some of the most vulnerable and isolated people in our communities, so we were pleased to be able to play a small part in getting this equipment to the staff who need it.

“I’m proud of our staff for stepping up at short notice to make it happen and understanding the important role the fire and rescue service can play in supporting our partners and our communities.”

South Yorkshire’s response to the pandemic is being coordinated as a collective effort by multiple agencies, including emergency services, health bodies and local authorities.

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Firefighters support ambulance service

Yorkshire Ambulance Service welcomes additional COVID-19 support from fire and rescue colleagues.

Firefighter colleagues from the region’s four fire and rescue services will be joining Yorkshire Ambulance Service to provide additional support during the current coronavirus pandemic.

The 48 volunteers (12 from each fire and rescue service – North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Humberside) will be carrying out tasks including driving ambulances and other support roles.

This move follows a recent agreement between the National Employers, National Fire Chiefs Council and the Fire Brigades Union to support local authorities and the NHS.

Our staff training with Yorkshire Ambulance staff

Commenting on this development, Nick Smith, Executive Director of Operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We have always enjoyed a close working relationship with our fire and rescue service colleagues through the many incidents we attend jointly on a daily basis and through our collaborative approach to large scale emergency situations.

“During this unprecedented period, and arguably the greatest challenge the NHS has ever faced, we are extremely grateful for the additional support being provided by the region’s fire and rescue services. It means that we will have greater flexibility and resilience in our approach over the coming weeks to ensure patients receive the care they need.”

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson commented: “As a service we are here to make South Yorkshire safer and stronger. We could not be more willing, and able, to help out in any way we can during these extremely challenging times.

“Our firefighters are trained to an extremely high standard. They have a huge amount of experience in driving blue light vehicles and are very well respected in their local communities. I’m hugely proud of them all and know they will do a fantastic job when called upon.”

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