Fire service welcomes sentence for Rotherham bus station arsonist

Fire officers have repeated warnings about the consequences of starting deliberate fires, following the sentencing of a boy who set fire to a bus in Rotherham.

The fire at Rotherham Interchange, Fredrick Street on 15 May 2016 was tackled by four fire engines plus a turntable ladder. It destroyed the bus and damaged the bus station, causing more than £1.8 million in damage.

The convicted youth, aged 17, but who was 15 when the offence was committed, had pleaded guilty to arson with reckless intent to endanger life. He was sentenced to a three year custodial sentence at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday (13 March).

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue fire investigator Simon Rodgers said: “This incident is further proof that people who start fires do get caught and do get convicted. Starting fires is reckless, can cause huge damage and distress to the local community and can cost lives.  We work closely with our police partners to investigate deliberate fires and thank them for their perseverance in bringing about this conviction.”

If you know of someone starting fires in your area, you can report it to South Yorkshire Police 101 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

Help wanted to track down Blitz firefighters’ families

The fire service wants help to track down the surviving members of two Sheffield firefighters who lost their lives during the blitz.

Norman Elliot, aged 35, and Fredrick Parkes-Spencer, aged 36 were both firefighters with Sheffield Police Fire Brigade on the night of 12 December 1940.

Codenamed Operation Crucible by the Germans, the raids under on 12, 13 and 15 December 1940 saw hundreds of Heinkel 111, Dornier 17 and Junker 88 bombers drop many thousands of tonnes of ordnance on Sheffield over a period of nine hours.

Dozens of firefighters from across Yorkshire and surrounding cities responded to the raids.

Norman lost his life at Union Street and Fredrick was killed at Charles Street.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue plans to name two new meeting rooms at its Eyre Street headquarters in memory of the firefighters and would like to let their families know.

If you were related to either Norman Elliot or Fredrick Parkes-Spencer, or know someone who was, please email

Children talk about their firefighter mums to mark International Women’s Day

The fire service has unveiled a tear jerking video celebrating the role of women in the fire service, to mark a major global awareness day.

But firefighters are not the stars of the show- as the children of serving staff take centre stage in the super cute short film.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says the viral video’s release on International Women’s Day is designed to make more women think about a career in the fire service.

Alex Johnson, Assistant Chief Fire Officer at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, said: “Perceptions of the fire service as being a male dominated organisation are changing and here in South Yorkshire we have already come a very long way, with female firefighters serving on the front line at fire stations all over the county for nearly 30 years. We also have lots of women working in support staff roles and International Women’s Day is an ideal opportunity to celebrate the contribution all the women we employ make towards making our communities safer and stronger.

“But at the same time we fully accept that we still have a long way to go before we become truly representative of the communities which we serve. The role of a firefighter has changed considerably in recent years, and we now play a vital social role, including youth work, safety initiatives and carrying out home safety checks. As the highest ranking female officer in South Yorkshire, I will continue to be a strong advocate for women in the fire service, hopefully inspiring more women to think about a career they may never have considered before.”

Register your interest in the next round of firefighter recruitment here

Fire service opens doors to rough sleepers in new cold weather partnership

The fire service has opened its doors to rough sleepers, in a new partnership to help those on the streets or at risk of being on the streets in Sheffield

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s headquarters on Eyre Street were converted into a place to stay on Monday night, for people at risk of sleeping rough in the cold weather.

British Red Cross volunteers were on hand to welcome people and provide hot drinks and snacks, with Framework’s Street Outreach Team and Sheffield City Council’s Housing Solutions service helping people to access accommodation and support.

During the winter Sheffield City Council activates its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol, known locally as Weather Watch, in response to the potential risk to life when the weather is very cold.

Area Manager Tony Carlin, said: “Helping people in need and saving lives is core to our mission as a fire service, so it made perfect sense for us to answer the call for emergency accommodation during the recent cold weather.

“This initiative provides comfort, warmth and shelter for rough sleepers and the homeless and is a clear example of public agencies working together to help some of the most vulnerable people in our area.”

“Whilst this was initially a one-off, temporary measure, it’s something we intend to repeat next winter and during any other spells of particularly severe weather as we continue to do what we can as a fire service to make our communities safer.”

Councillor Jayne Dunn, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety said: “It’s important to us, particularly with the recent cold temperatures that we have seen over the last week or so, that extra care and shelter is provided for those most in need in the city. I’m grateful to all of the partners involved in this initiative who have planned, organised and worked together to make this happen in Sheffield for those who are most vulnerable.”

“We’re hoping that those who have been less likely to come indoors in the past will recognise how much they can benefit from taking us up on our offer of support in the future.”

Joe Tilston, British Red Cross Senior Emergency Response Officer for Yorkshire said: “We have responded to a request from Sheffield City Council alongside South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue to support at a scheme providing emergency shelter to the homeless in the city this week.

“British Red Cross volunteers and staff are providing practical and emotional support, including the provision of hot food and drinks, and signposting service users to longer-term support where needed.

“We continue to be on standby to provide support to people affected by the weather conditions across the North of England, working alongside local authorities and the emergency services.”

Every week early morning outreach sessions take place in Sheffield to identify and support people who are sleeping rough.

As well as support with accommodation, Sheffield has a number of services which offer practical help and advice to rough sleepers.

This includes drop in services offering food, clothing, showers and laundry facilities as well as access to healthcare professionals and recovery support There are also services commissioned by Sheffield City Council, as well as local charities and voluntary organisations providing practical assistance, plus housing advice and support.

For more information about help for rough sleepers visit the Sheffield City Council website. or Help Us Help.


South Yorkshire groups to make communities safer under Fire Authority funding scheme

Charities and community groups across South Yorkshire will deliver work to reduce fires, traffic collisions and water deaths, after being awarded funding by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority.

Sixteen projects focussing on issues including loneliness, hoarding and water safety will all benefit from the funding which has been made available under the Authority’s Stronger Safer Communities Reserve.

The schemes being supported range from an older persons befriending initiative and a falls prevention slipper swap project, to help for people with learning disabilities and the production of a virtual reality motorbike safety film.

This is the third time that local organisations have benefitted from the funding. The Fire Authority has also provided money to support the installation of sprinklers in higher-risk residential accommodation.

Last year the fire service published plans which included a commitment to work more closely with community organisations to increase the reach of its safety work.

Fire Authority Chair Cllr Linda Burgess, said: “The Authority believes that charities, community organisations and other local groups can play an important part in supporting the work of the fire service to make our communities safer and stronger. Members look forward to seeing how the money which has been allocated following a rigorous assessment process will deliver real and far-reaching benefits for local people.”

The Stronger Safer Communities Reserve is a Fire Authority scheme which reinvests money into local communities to support the fire service’s work to prevent emergencies. The money has been set aside from the Authority’s reserves.

Research carried out by social return on investment specialists found that projects delivered through both of the fund’s previous bidding rounds produced nearly £5 million worth of benefits to local people.

This time, local partners, charities and community organisations were able to bid for funding ranging from £5,000 to £100,000. There were 48 applications for funding, with the final list of 16 successful projects being decided by an assessment board. The funding allocated totals £639,000.

The full list of funded projects can be found here

Stay well this winter

Keep yourself warm this winter to help protect your health. Keep an eye on family, friends and neighbours, especially those over 65, who may need extra help to stay well this winter.

Our top 10 tips to stay well this winter:

  1. Don’t get caught out – keep up to date with the weather forecast
  2. Heat your home to at least 18oC (65oF) – You might want your main living room to be slightly warmer
  3. Hot drinks and food – Have plenty of hot drinks and a hot meal every day
  4. Remember to layer up – by wearing layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer, you will trap heat better to keep warmer
  5. Wrap up on the sofa – when sitting for long periods of time wrap a blanket around you
  6. Keep active when indoors – Try not to sit still for more than an hour at a time. Even whilst sitting you can move your arms and legs or wiggle your fingers and toes
  7. Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights – breathing in cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest infections
  8. Protect yourself from flu – If you’re entitled to a flu jab make sure you have it
  9. Make sure you’re receiving all the help that you’re entitled to – Learn how to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating and keep up with your energy bills at
  10. And check your heating and cooking appliances are safe – Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure they’re operating properly. Visit

Fire Authority approves council tax rise

The fire service’s governing Fire Authority decided to increase its portion of Council Tax by 2.97% next year, at its budget setting meeting on 19 February.

Current indications are that South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue will lose around £700,000 in its Government funding in 2018/19, when compared with 2017/18.

The decision to increase council tax will raise around £714,000 in annual funding for the fire service- the equivalent of around 20 firefighters.

Changes to Home Safety Checks service

We have carried out tens of thousands of home safety visits in South Yorkshire over the last decade, including the fitting of hundreds of thousands of free smoke alarms. We believe this work has contributed to big falls in the number of accidental house fires during that time.

However, the majority of the visits we have undertaken have been to homes which are unlikely to ever suffer a serious fire. This is based upon detailed analysis of our historical incident data and the factors which we know are likely to contribute to a person’s likelihood of suffering a fire.

To continue to reduce house fires, deaths and injuries we believe we need to become even more targeted in the way we deliver our prevention work.

To achieve this, we are changing our Home Safety Checks service from 1 March so that safety advice continues to be given to all, but home visits by fire service staff are only offered for free to those most at risk of fire based upon some clearly defined risk criteria.

Those who self-refer themselves to us, but who are deemed to be lower risk based upon these criteria, will be offered the information and advice to carry out a home safety check themselves. You can find out more or request a visit using our online form here

People who are referred to us by our network of more than 130 Safe & Well referral partners will continue to receive a free visit by a member of fire service staff.

The changes we are making were one of the changes we announced in plans which were published in April 2017, following a period of public consultation. You can read our Integrated Risk Management Plan 2017-20  in full here

Fire Authority to consider Council Tax precept rise

The fire service’s governing Fire Authority will decide whether to increase its portion of Council Tax by 2.97% next year, at its budget setting meeting this month.

Current indications are that South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue will lose around £700,000 in its Government funding in 2018/19, when compared with 2017/18.

Householders in Band D currently pay £68.96 per year for their Fire and Rescue Service, around £1.33 per week. The decision to increase council tax would raise around £714,000 in annual funding for the fire service- the equivalent of around 20 firefighters.

Fire Authority Members will make their decision on Council Tax at the fire and rescue authority meeting on Monday 19 February.

Fire service highlights 999 joint working to mark year since new law came into force

The fire service has published details of dozens of areas of joint work with the police and other emergency services, to mark a year since a new law came into force.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) has unveiled a list of 30 ways it is working more closely with the region’s 999 services, from training and community safety work, to shared teams, equipment and buildings.

999 Together: 30 ways the fire service has collaborated in South Yorkshire

The Policing & Crime Act 2017 received Royal Assent on 31 January last year, placing a new statutory duty on all three emergency services to look at opportunities to work with one another better to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

The bulk of the collaborative work undertaken by SYFR both before and after the Act came into force involves South Yorkshire Police, although the fire service says it is also working closely with the ambulance service and other local fire and rescue services.

Highlights include a new shared fire and police station in Maltby which went live at the end of last year and a jointly delivered Princes Trust Team Programme, which has helped to transform the lives of more than 120 young people in less than two years.

Other, long standing collaborations include Lifewise, which is an interactive safety centre in Hellaby, Rotherham which has been jointly run by the police and fire services since 2011 to deliver education packages to more than 20,000 local people every year, including nearly every Year 6 pupil in South Yorkshire.

Firefighters also now attend hundreds of ‘medical break-in’ incidents each year. The arrangement sees firefighters provide humanitarian assistance at emergencies where people are thought to be in need of urgent medical attention, but where ambulance service paramedics cannot reach them, for example when they are locked indoors. The work used to be carried out by police officers, so is helping to save thousands of hours of police time each year.

SYFR Deputy Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden, said: “Whilst there is now a legal duty on all emergency services to work more closely together, for us the real benefits of collaboration with the police, ambulance and other fire services are to the communities we serve. Whilst we still believe each of the emergency services should retain their own unique skills, brand and specialisms, we want to show local people that we are serious about providing them with the most efficient and most effective service possible. That means seeking out opportunities where we can deliver our work better or save money by working alongside our 999 partners.”

Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd, said: “The Government has invested over £88million in local blue light collaboration projects since 2013, including in South Yorkshire,  because they present a real opportunity for emergency services to maximise available resources, enhance local resilience and improve the service delivered to the public. I am pleased to hear of the work in South Yorkshire, and look forward to hearing of further collaboration in the future.”

South Yorkshire Police DCC Mark Roberts said: “We have worked closely with our colleagues in South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue for many years now, though this last year has seen our partnership become more formally recognised under the Policing and Crime Act. We are committed to supporting our emergency service colleagues in such a wide range of initiatives and activities with the intention of making South Yorkshire safer for all who live and work here.”

Fire Authority Chair Linda Burgess, said: “The Fire Authority and its members wholeheartedly support the provision of a strong fire and rescue service, which includes pursuing close working with other emergency services where there is a clear benefit to local people. We’re pleased to see the service continuing its strong progress in this area.”

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, said: “We have begun to show in South Yorkshire what can be done to improve services to the public by collaborative working. We need to go on from here, with the increased energy and determination, thinking of new and innovative ways in which the Fire and Rescue and Police services in particular can work better together. This is why I, as Police and Crime Commissioner, have become a member of the Fire Authority.”