South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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SYFR celebrate double win at Cutlers Awards

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.

The Service’s Sprinkler Advocate, Roger Branson (pictured above), received the Individual Award in recognition for his expertise, dedication and relentless championing of sprinklers which has had a monumental impact in his service, community and sector.

His leading role in the retrofitting of sprinklers in a high-rise block of flats at Callow Mount in Sheffield 12 years ago is now hailed around the world as proof of the relatively low costs of installing sprinklers in tower blocks.

He has since overseen nearly £2 million of grant funding in South Yorkshire to install sprinklers in high-risk homes.

The Building Risk Review team received the Team Award for their incredible work carried out following the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

The project required all high rise residential buildings within scope to be inspected and a specific data set be returned to the National Fire Chief’s Council no later than by the end of 2021.

In August 2020, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s Business Fire Safety Department established a specific team of officers to set up a project group to deal with this task.

This project has generated a huge amount of work for the team – more than 200 buildings were inspected and 520 jobs issued to inspectors.

It was a full team effort, with some of the work issued out to officers within the Business Fire Safety (BFS) department and operational staff on modified duties.

Thanks to the efforts the project was completed well within the required timescale.

The awards were hosted by the Master Cutler, Mr James Tear, and Mistress Cutler, Mrs Jo Tear on Monday 18 July.

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Public asked to do their bit ahead of second heatwave

Firefighters across South Yorkshire are urging members of the public to be extra careful over the coming days, following a new extreme heat warning from the Met Office.

The national weather forecaster has also raised the fire severity risk level to ‘exceptional’ for some parts of the country – in addition to its four-day Amber weather warning.

This has prompted South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s fire officers to issue another plea to the public around helping to prevent any more wildfires across the county.

They are asking people to stop having garden bonfires during the period of extreme heat, refrain from taking disposable BBQs out with them and to ensure they don’t leave rubbish – especially glass bottles – lying around.

Specifically, officers are asking people to consider the impact of their behaviour and, ultimately, wildfires, on things like the local landscape and wildlife.

“During periods of intense heat the ground becomes so dry – this means that fires are easier to start and will spread so much quicker,” said Area Manager Matt Gillatt, head of the joint fire and police community safety department.

“Our ask of people is, first and foremost, that they don’t burn rubbish in their garden over the coming days. During a heatwave these small fires can easily get out of hand.

“We’re then asking that, especially this coming weekend, people don’t take disposable BBQs out with them to parks, fields or moorland areas. Whilst we know most people are very responsible, the risk of wildfire is literally as high as it can possibly be right now.

“And then last but not least, please take your litter home with you or put it in the bin. This one may seem random, but glass bottles in particular can magnify the sun’s rays and start fires.

“Ultimately we want people to consider the impact of their actions on not just us, but also on local wildlife. When you’re out in the countryside and in moorland areas, you are in their home, and what starts as a small fire can easily grow bigger and see them displaced.”

This latest plea comes after the service’s control room was inundated with calls late last month on what some people are terming ‘heatwave day’ – where temperatures hit 40 degrees in some parts of the country.

Across the 24 hours of that day – Tuesday 19 July – fire control operators in South Yorkshire took 2,000 direct calls, more than 1,500 of which were in relation to emergency incidents.

The service described the levels of demand as ‘unprecedented’ – with Chief Fire Officer, Chris Kirby, issuing a statement afterwards to thank staff for going above and beyond.

As well as urging people to be careful with things like BBQs and not to have garden bonfires, the service is also asking residents to be vigilant around deliberate fire-setting.

“Lots of the incidents we attended in July were started deliberately, which is really disappointing, but unfortunately not a huge surprise to us.

“Our final ask of the public is that if they know anyone who is intentionally setting fires – which tie up our crews and can put people at serious risk – then they report it to us.”

Residents can share information on arson, anonymously, by calling 0800 169 5558.

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Chief Fire Officer praises crews after unprecedented heatwave fires

I want to pay tribute to and pass on huge thanks to firefighters, officers and control room staff who dealt with an unprecedented surge in demand for our services yesterday afternoon. Also to the support teams from across the service who helped with vehicle issues and logistics, delivering of supplies to incidents and provided general support.

 

Their professionalism, dedication and commitment to serving our communities was exemplary and I am so proud of their efforts.

 

I have worked within the fire and rescue service for almost 24 years and I cannot recall such an unprecedented level of demand, in such difficult conditions. As the surge in calls ramped up yesterday afternoon, our control staff and officers had to prioritise incidents based on risk to life and property. On occasion, we had to leave fires burning that were not affecting life or property to attend other, more serious incidents.

Normally, if we experienced a high demand such as this, we could request support either regionally or nationally- but the difference yesterday was that almost every single fire and rescue service was experiencing the same thing. 

 

If the record breaking temperatures we saw across the UK yesterday are a sign of things to come and we experience days like yesterday more and more, then the whole sector needs to be better equipped to deal with such extreme levels of demand. 

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Major incident in South Yorkshire stood down

A major incident declared in South Yorkshire has been stood down.

The number of fires being dealt with by emergency services has reduced significantly, but the fire service warns that conditions remain extremely dry and the risk of fire is still very high.

People should avoid burning garden waste, not take BBQs to places like parks and countryside and take all rubbish with them to reduce the risk of fires starting.

Emergency services thank the public for they support they have shown.

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Major incident declared due to demand on services from fires

The emergency services working across South Yorkshire have now declared a major incident due to the demand on services from fires across the county.

The fires are being prioritised in relation to risk to life and risk to property. All of the agencies are working closely to bring resources together and minimise risk.

Please avoid calling 999 unless life is at risk.

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Service launches new online home safety check system

With a cost of living crisis currently sweeping across the country, South Yorkshire’s fire service has doubled down on its efforts to keep people safe.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is today, Friday 1 July, launching a new online home safety check service which allows residents to explore whether they are at particular risk of fire.

This home safety assessment system will supplement the virtual home safety check service that fire officers launched last year.

This means that hundreds of thousands of local people are now able to self-assess their fire risk at no personal cost to them.

“We are proud that our community safety and education work has led to a huge reduction in house fires over the last decade, but we know we have to do more. This is especially the case given the current cost of living crisis,” said Area Manager Matt Gillatt, head of community safety.

“This new online tool, along with our virtual safety check system, means that home safety assessments are available for everyone – regardless of your risk level.

“Our ask is for everyone to take five minutes to run through one of these checks. Even if you don’t think you’re at risk, it’s always worth checking and taking on board our advice.

“Unfortunately, our experience shows that fire can hit anywhere, at any time. And it can be physically, emotionally, mentally and financially devastating.

“Finding a few minutes right now could potentially save you a lot of hassle and pain in the future. For you and your family.”

The software for the online home safety check system has been made available to all fire services across the United Kingdom, by the National Fire Chief’s Council.

Senior fire officers hope that the new system will soon be adopted all over the country, leading to a standardised and consistent approach to identifying and logging home safety issues.

When running through the online checks, users will be asked a range of interactive questions about their home, their family and their lifestyle.

They will then be invited to book an in-person visit if they meet the criteria.

The initial online check takes around two minutes to complete, before a decision is made around eligibility. Residents are then invited to provide information around individual rooms.

You can find out more and take a check yourself at www.syfire.gov.uk/safety-advice/request-a-visit.

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Kids talk about firefighting dads in new campaign video

The children of South Yorkshire firefighters have spoken about their ‘kind’, ‘loving’ and ‘brave’ dads in a brand new campaign video from the county’s fire service.

Filmed as part of International Father’s Mental Health Day (IFMHD), the video features five youngsters talking about the things they love about their dads – all of whom are serving firefighters.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) says it has produced the video in a bid to show that, beneath the tough outer shell, every firefighter is a normal and vulnerable human being.

The service is also hoping to highlight and support the messaging around IFMHD – which is that men can also experience postpartum depression and may need support of their own.

“We know that society generally views men as stoic and strong, especially those who work within the fire, police and military services. However, we are still only human, like anyone else,” said Chief Fire Officer, Chris Kirby.

“We want to make it clear to any men working for South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, and in fact all men living across the county, that it is ok to talk if you’re struggling.

“We also wanted to support the messaging given out around Father’s Mental Health Day – which is that even the strongest of men can suffer from conditions such as postnatal depression.

“Whoever you are and whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence. Help is out there.”

The fire service’s backing for this Father’s Day themed campaign comes after years of work to improve the health and wellbeing support offered to firefighters across South Yorkshire.

An employee assistance programme, which offers help on a range of issues from finance to family life, is one of the key systems the service has put in place recently.

Firefighters can then also benefit from a critical incident wellbeing support programme, which involves specially trained members of staff visiting crews that have been involved in potentially upsetting incidents.

These things are offered to staff on top of the service’s existing provision – which includes a full-time occupational health department and an onus on managers to look after their staff.

The service has also supported Andy’s Man Club for many years, and has recently launched a mental health walking group for male emergency service staff – both serving and retired.

The video can be viewed here on the SYFR YouTube channel.

Anybody in need of support or someone to talk to can contact Samaritans on 116 123 – their service is completely free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Win £100 with our electrical fire safety quiz

Do you fancy winning £100 worth of Amazon vouchers? How about this, then…

We’ve got a £100 gift voucher and two £50 vouchers to give away, to three lucky winners.

All you have to do is take our electrical safety quiz, give us your email address, and await the verdict.

By taking the quiz, whatever your score, you will be entered into the prize draw. On Friday 10 June 2022 we will pick three lucky winners.

And that’s it. The quiz takes around 60 seconds to complete. In doing so, you give yourself a chance at bagging one of these three incredible prizes.

This is all part of our latest electrical safety campaign, in which we are urging people to take extra care with electrics in and around the home.

You can do this by not overloading your plug sockets, only buying genuine goods from reputable suppliers and not leaving washing machines and tumble dryers on at night or when you’re out.

Oh and register your appliances!

Have a go at our quiz below… good luck!

Electrical Fire Safety Quiz

  • This form collects some personal information - which will be used to contact the randomly selected quiz winner and subsequently be destroyed. By submitting the form you are agreeing for your data to be used in this way.
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Fire Authority names new Assistant Chief Fire Officer

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority (SYFRA) has appointed a new Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

Andy Strelczenie was appointed following a selection process which included a written application, operational assessment and three interviews – including a final one with members of the Fire Authority’s appointments committee.

Andy has worked within the fire and rescue service for 26 years, originally at Hereford and Worcester Fire & Rescue Service before transferring to South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.

He was previously an Area Manager at SYFR and has been our Head of Emergency Response for three years, more recently overseeing Service Development, Business Fire Safety, HMICFRS inspection planning and our work with the National Fire Chief’s Council.

In his new role, Andy will lead on the delivery of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s service improvement plan and community risk management plans.

Fire Authority Chair Cllr Tony Damms, said: “It’s incredibly important that our fire and rescue service is well led, which is why the selection process for senior roles such as this is so rigorous. The qualities Andy demonstrated during the process will all be needed to drive forward improvement across the organisation, enabling it to provide the best possible service to the communities it serves.”

Andy said: “I am incredibly proud of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and honoured to be appointed the service Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

“We aspire to become one of the UK’s leading fire and rescue services and I look forward to further supporting that ambition in my new role – working with our fantastic staff to make sensible improvements to the way we deliver our services whilst putting the needs of our communities first.”

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South Yorkshire firefighters back brave Molly’s bid to raise charity cash

South Yorkshire firefighters are supporting a brave Sheffield girl’s bid to raise vital cash for the charity which supported her care.

Molly Williams, aged 9, was born with a rare form of motor neurone disease, meaning she will never walk or stand without support.

But now Molly and her sister Anya and brother Edmund have spent time training with firefighters at Parkway fire station as she gears up to complete 84 laps of an athletics track- a lap for every night she’s spent in critical care.

Group Manager Paul Bragger, said: “When we heard about Molly’s incredible fundraising challenge, our firefighters were only too happy to meet Molly and her family to help her prepare.

“Our crews have been so inspired by her story, they are planning a string of their own events in support of her fundraising efforts, including 100 climbs of our 32 metre turntable ladder- which is no mean feat!”

Full-time wheelchair user Molly has already undergone two, 10 hour surgeries at Sheffield Children’s Hospital during her short life- straightening her spine with rods and reconstructing both her hips. Sometimes she needs a special mask to breathe.

The Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) charity has supported her by providing specialist equipment to improve her quality of life- which is what’s prompted Molly and her family to launch their fundraising challenge.

Molly’s former RAF mechanic dad Julian is running and walking 100 miles in one mammoth 24 hour session.

Meanwhile Molly, mum May, sister Anya and brother Edmund will complete 84 laps of a 220 metre indoor athletics track on her duet tandem wheelchair bicycle.

The challenge takes place on 28 and 29 May at the English Institute of Sport and Olympic Legacy Park, Sheffield.

For more information or to donate, visit http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/100miles4molly

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