South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Prohibition notice lifted on Sheffield apartment block

A Sheffield apartment block has had a prohibition notice lifted, after work to address serious fire safety concerns was completed.

Fire safety inspecting officers from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue served a prohibition notice on Wicker Riverside in December because previously identified issues with the building had not been resolved.

The notice had been due to come into force on 31 January- but work undertaken by the responsible persons to address the issues means it has now been lifted. Residents previously evacuated from floors six to 10 of the building have also been allowed to return.

SYFR Assistant Chief Fire Officer Andy Strelczenie, said: “Prohibiting the use of a building in this way is always a last resort and we are sorry for the disruption and distress this has caused to all those living there. Ultimately though, people’s safety must come first.

“We are reassured by the efforts taken by the responsible persons to resolve matters within the building. The remedial work completed is the minimum required to keep people safe and we will continue to engage with the responsible persons to ensure the remaining issues with the building are effectively resolved.”

The fire service originally served an enforcement notice on Wicker Riverside in December 2020 and continued to engage with the responsible persons since then to ensure the safety issues identified by inspectors were resolved.

SYFR is responsible for enforcing fire safety laws in South Yorkshire. It employs fire safety inspecting officers who carry out fire safety audits. If the inspecting officer identifies any fire safety deficiencies, they have a range of options available to them- including issuing a prohibition notice.

A prohibition notice is a legal notice. Where there is a serious and imminent risk to life fire safety inspecting officers can prohibit or restrict the use of premises. If the premises continues to be used against the prohibition notice, then anyone failing to comply with the notice may be prosecuted.

South Yorkshire’s fire service commits to improvements following national inspection report

South Yorkshire’s fire service says it is has already taken significant steps to improve its service, following publication of a national inspection report

The report by His Majesty’s Inspectorate for Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) identified several areas for improvement- as well as many areas of good practice.

Inspectors said the service is ‘good’ at looking after its people, but needs to improve under the ‘effectiveness’ and ‘efficiency’ inspection categories. The service is rated as ‘good’ in seven out of 11 sub-categories.

Chief Fire Officer Chris Kirby, said: “The report highlights many areas of good practice across the service and we are proud of these positive findings. We are particularly proud to be rated ‘good’ for People- with those we employ our most important and valued asset.

“However, we acknowledge there are also areas for improvement and we will use this report to drive further improvements to our service for the people of South Yorkshire.

“We’ve already addressed several of the areas identified in the report and believe we have made significant improvement since the inspection team visited us last summer.”

Improvements South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has made since the inspection team visited, include recruiting more on-call firefighters, beginning to overhaul its Occupational Health Unit and delivering more work to implement nationally developed guidance for firefighters.

The report follows an inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) in summer 2022.

It is the second time South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has been inspected since HMICFRS extended its remit to include inspections of fire and rescue services in 2017.

The inspectorates assesses and reports on the efficiency, effectiveness and people management qualities of the 45 fire and rescue services in England. Services are rated either ‘inadequate’, ‘requires improvement’, ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ under each of these.

Fire service prohibition of Sheffield apartment block to proceed

The planned prohibition of the use of an apartment block in Sheffield is still expected to proceed as planned, due to serious fire safety concerns.

Fire safety inspecting officers from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue served a prohibition notice on Wicker Riverside on 5 December because previously identified issues with the building had not been resolved and interim measures which had been in place can no longer be considered interim.

The notice comes into force on 31 January- which coincides with the expiry date of a previously served enforcement notice and allows time for residents to find alternative accommodation.

SYFR Assistant Chief Fire Officer Andy Strelczenie, said: “Prohibiting the use of a building in this way is always a last resort, particularly when it will cause so much disruption to those living there. Ultimately though, the safety of the residents must come first. Our hearts go out to all those affected by this horrendous situation, but we simply cannot allow this unsafe situation to continue.

“We’ll continue to work closely with the responsible persons to ensure the matters within the building can be resolved. Responsible persons are now making efforts to remediate issues within the building as quickly as possible and the prohibition notice will be removed as soon as we believe it is safe to do so. But as things stand, we fully expect the notice to come into force on 31 January.

“Alongside Sheffield City Council, we’ve been meeting with residents regularly to help explain what the notice means and to support them in finding alternative accommodation.”

The fire service originally served an enforcement notice on Wicker Riverside in December 2020 and has continued to engage with the responsible persons since then to ensure the safety issues identified by inspectors were resolved- but this has not happened within the timescales set out in the notices.

The issues with the building include its internal fire compartmentation- things designed to stop a fire from spreading throughout a building- and the external cladding.

SYFR is responsible for enforcing fire safety laws in South Yorkshire. It employs fire safety inspecting officers who carry out fire safety audits. If the inspecting officer identifies any fire safety deficiencies, they have a range of options available to them- including issuing a prohibition notice.

A prohibition notice is a legal notice. Where there is a serious and imminent risk to life fire safety inspecting officers can prohibit or restrict the use of premises. If the premises continues to be used against the prohibition notice, then anyone failing to comply with the notice may be prosecuted.

Safety advice for residents affected by S6 gas supply issue

We’re aware of the ongoing gas supply incident in parts of Stannington and Hillsborough.

Whilst agencies work together to resolve this issue, fire service staff will be visiting the area to provide safety advice to local people.

If you’ve lost your gas supply, please:

  • Be careful not to overload electrical sockets– we know people may be using more electrical items to cook or heat their homes, but most extension leads and adapters can only take a maximum of 13 amps
  • Take care with electric heaters– keep them away from soft furnishings and don’t use them to dry clothes, as this is a common cause of fires
  • Beware of unsafe heating practices– things like candles and camp stoves are not safe for heating your home and are another common cause of fire

SYFR responds to Independent Cultural Review of London Fire Brigade

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has responded to the Independent Cultural Review of London Fire Brigade.

Chief Fire Officer Chris Kirby, said: “The report makes difficult reading for anyone working in the fire and rescue service. It shouldn’t need saying- but there is absolutely no place for the negative behaviour and attitudes described in the report in any modern workplace, let alone the fire and rescue service.

“We have clear policies in place on bullying, harassment and discrimination and regularly work with staff networks and representative bodies to improve these. We also have a well-established set of staff behaviours which we expect all our people to follow.

“But we must never be complacent. That’s why we will be reviewing the report and its recommendations in detail and looking to implement improvements to our own service where appropriate. We aspire to be a great place to work where everyone can be themselves and will be using the findings of this report to further support our work towards this.”

Rotherham fire station to hold open day

Rotherham’s world famous firefighting TikTok stars are set give the public a chance to peek behind the scenes at the fire station where they work.

Firefighters on Rotherham blue watch have become famous around the globe after clocking up millions of views on the social network.

Now the firefighters behind the videos hope to give the public an insight into their important, lifesaving work by staging Rotherham fire station’s first open day in more than three years.

Watch Manager Adam Dilkes, said: “We’re really excited to be opening our doors and welcoming residents to take a closer look at what we do. The pandemic meant we had to temporarily put a halt to events like this, but we honestly cannot wait to show off our skills once more and meet some of the local people we serve with such pride.”

The open day will include a road traffic collision demonstration, a selection of fire service vehicles and the opportunity to soak a firefighter for charity.

Classic cars, taekwondo demonstrations, DJ, food stalls, birds of prey and vintage emergency vehicles will also be amongst the entertainment on offer.

Rotherham fire station open day on Fitzwilliam Road, Eastwood runs from 10am to 3pm on Saturday 29 October. Entry is free.

Fire station rebuild to be discussed by South Yorkshire’s fire authority members

A proposal to rebuild Elm Lane fire station is to be discussed by Fire Authority members.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue plans to replace the existing facility with a new building on the same site, in a construction project which could become a UK first.

The new ‘modular’ fire station would be constructed off-site in a move which could save both time and money.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Tony Carlin, said: “These plans form part of an ambitious programme to refurbish our property estate- giving our firefighters modern, safe and energy efficient fire stations in which to live and work. Modular construction methods have come on massively in recent years and we are excited to explore the potential for this new way of building fire stations to improve the efficiency of such projects.”

The current fire station on Elm Lane, Sheffield Lane Top was built in 1976, but is nearing the end of its operational life. Refurbishing the existing facility has been ruled out, due to the high cost of removing large amounts of suspected asbestos.

The project to rebuild the station will be discussed by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority members at their meeting on Monday (10 October).

The project is in the pre-planning phase, with any confirmed plans subject to the usual planning application process and consultation with local residents.

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.

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.

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.