South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
  • In emergencies call 999
  • General enquiries 0114 272 7202

Fire cadets spread joy over the festive period

Kind hearted fire cadets have been showered with praise after delivering Christmas gifts to care home residents across Barnsley.

The young people, who are based out of Cudworth and Dearne fire stations, funded the gifts with £600 they raised through donations and the sale of handmade Christmas cards.

They delivered around 200 presents in total to residents at four different care homes within the Barnsley district, dancing and singing along the way.

Then, with their first act of kindness done, they handed the remaining gifts out to members of their local community who were facing a lonely and isolated festive period.

Once they’d delivered the gifts they also took the time to talk to the residents and get them involved in a little sing-song – all in a COVID-secure way.

Some of the people they visited laughed, some even shed tears of joy. Others just smiled, said thank you and expressed their gratitude.

However they reacted, all of them were extremely touched by the gesture. That’s according to Watch Manager Fleur Holland, who has worked with the fire cadets on their project.

“I’m so proud of them all for what they have done – to raise £600 was one thing but to then buy and deliver around 200 gifts was an amazing gesture. Thinking about it still makes me emotional,” she added.

“The pandemic has limited what we can do but we refused to be beaten. It’s never been more important to share some Christmas joy and we’re glad, thanks to everyone who supported us, including our Chief Fire Officer, we’ve been able to do that.”

Courtney and Phoebe, from Cudworth, and Charlotte, Paige, Nicole and Lewis, from Dearne, are all part of the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Fire Cadets scheme.

The programme is run at stations across South Yorkshire for people aged between 13 and 18-years-old – it’s designed to build confidence and self-esteem, as well as practical skills.

Their latest effort, to raise the £600 for Christmas gifts, is the second fundraiser they’ve done this year. In May they raised £700 for The Fire Fighters Charity.

0

Building Risk Review – frequently asked questions

What is the Building Risk Review programme?

This is a national effort, led by the Government, to make high-rise residential buildings safer, and give us a better understanding of high-rise residential buildings across the country. It has come off the back of the tragic Grenfell Tower disaster and is now in its second phase.

The first phase of the programme focused on Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding. This saw us, and other fire services right across the country, work with building owners to identify buildings with ACM cladding and report back to the Government.

The second phase, which began in October, involves the inspection of all high-rise residential buildings that are over 18 metres high or have six or more storeys. The target is for all buildings in South Yorkshire that fit this criteria to have been inspected by the end of December 2021.

What is the South Yorkshire Building Risk Review team?

This is the team, made up of experienced fire safety inspectors from within South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, that are carrying out these Building Risk Review (BRR) inspections.

They came together in October 2020, thanks to a specific grant from the Government, and have already started inspecting buildings that meet the criteria.

They have around 200 ‘in scope’ buildings to look at within our county.

What will the team actually be doing?

First and foremost, they are contacting the responsible person for each ‘in scope’ building within the county to organise an inspection to assess the fire safety measures in place.

They will ask some initial questions, and go through a desktop audit process, to decide which buildings need to be inspected first.

They will then physically inspect each building, one by one, and raise any issues they find with the building management.

It’s important to note that the team is there to raise issues and offer advice and guidance. They are not able to physically deal with the issues themselves. As a result of their advice, action may be needed such as the removal of cladding or the introduction of waking watches. It is for the building owners to take such action.

What happens if you find something wrong with a building?

The team will raise any issues they find with the building management and work with them to get the problems dealt with as soon as possible.

In some cases, the team may feel the issues are serious enough to warrant an enforcement notice. This is where serious fire safety deficiencies are identified. Our inspectors, through the notice, will set a time frame for when the remedial work has to be completed.

In the most extreme cases, the team may have to issue a prohibition notice. This is where, using the powers given to us by the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005, we will prohibit the use of the building, or certain parts of the building.

Regrettably, this would involve evacuating residents until the issues are dealt with. People should be assured, though, that it is rare to issue such a notice and we would, of course, work very closely with the building management to get people back in their homes as soon as possible. This option is a last resort and is only used when we feel a building, or a part of a building, is unsafe for people to be living in.

Who is responsible for dealing with issues raised?

As already stated, the building management and owners are responsible for dealing with the issues raised. Our job, as the fire and rescue service, is to raise issues and offer advice on what needs to be done to sort them out. We will then re-inspect buildings to ensure they are safe and that the necessary work has been carried out.

Why has this work not been done before?

It has. We have been inspecting buildings, including high-rise residential blocks, for many years.

This project is simply about accelerating the pace of these inspections so that we can implement the learning from the Grenfell Tower disaster sooner rather than later.

What about other buildings across the county?

Inspections will still take place at other buildings that aren’t ‘in scope’ for this project. We have a wider team of inspecting officers who will be carrying on their work to inspect all buildings in South Yorkshire, regardless of height.

We must stress that all responsible persons should ensure they are fully aware of their fire safety responsibilities, high-rise or not.

0

Safety advice for businesses over the festive period

We know this is a very difficult time for everyone, including businesses, but it is vital that your business, and the people working for you, remain safe from fire.

With the Christmas period upon us we’ve put together some fire safety advice to help keep your business and those within the premises safe.

If you’re considering the introduction of any Christmas decorations into your premises over the festive period you should consider the following advice and also review your fire safety risk assessment before decorating.

Some of our key, general tips are:

  • Do not place Christmas trees, decorations or lights in the means of escape
  • Do not obstruct escape routes or escape doors
  • Do not obstruct or obscure fire escape signage, fire fighting equipment, emergency lighting, break glass call points, fire alarms sounders, emergency isolation points etc. with decorations.

Reviewing your fire safety risk assessment

Christmas decorations may increase the fire loading (flammable items/materials) and fire risk in your premises.

Your fire safety risk assessment should therefore be reviewed by a competent person prior to putting festive decorations in your premises.

There are five key steps to a fire risk assessment:

  • Identify the fire hazards
  • Identify people at risk
  • Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks
  • Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan & provide training
  • Review and update regularly

More information on fire safety risk assessments can be found here.

Decorations

Take care with decorations and trees. Always use flame resistant/fire retardant products:

  • Decorations made of paper, cardboard and cotton wool should not be used – they are extremely flammable and can burn easily
  • Any Christmas decorations should be non-flammable/fire retardant – fire retardant decorations are available from suppliers
  • Positioning of decorations should not be in close proximity to sources of ignition
  • Decorations must not obstruct or obscure fire escape signage, firefighting equipment or other safety features

Christmas trees

  • If you have a natural Christmas tree ensure that it is watered daily because a Christmas tree which has dried out can be highly flammable
  • Avoid placing Christmas trees in areas where they could be easily knocked over
  • Christmas trees should be placed in a suitable stable container to prevent it from falling over
  • Christmas trees should never be put in positions where they obstruct or obscure escape routes or escape doors, fire escape signage, firefighting equipment or other safety features
  • Do not place Christmas trees, decorations or lights in the means of escape

Electrical lights and decorations

  • Don’t overload electrical circuits
  • All electrical lighting and electrical decorations should be tested before use by a competent person
  • All electrical lighting and electrical decorations should conform to the relevant British Safety Standard (marked with the appropriate Kite or CE mark)
  • Do not place electrical lights or electrical decorations in close proximity to combustible materials
  • Switch all Christmas decorations off at night

Extra stock over the festive period

  • Storage of extra stock should be considered by your fire risk assessment
  • All means of escape, doors, routes, stairways must be kept clear and unobstructed – goods and excess packaging should not be allowed to reduce widths in these areas – even temporarily
  • If you have extra stock you should ensure you have capacity to store the stock safely without blocking the means of escape or any fire exit doors or impinge upon any fire door which has to be kept clear or closed
  • Do not wedge open fire doors
  • You should make sure stock is not in close proximity to ignition sources, or too close to smoke detectors or sprinkler heads as this could affect their operation

Staff training

  • It is essential that all permanent staff and additional staff who may be employed on a temporary basis to cover this busy period are adequately trained regarding the action to be taken in the event of a fire and are made familiar with all fire precautions applicable to your building

Capacity

  • Do not exceed the recommended occupancy limits for your premises (your occupancy limits should be identified in your fire risk assessment)

Covid–19 and fire safety

Should you require further fire safety information please visit our business advice pages.

If you would like to speak to a member of our team please contact your local fire safety officer.

For safety advice in the home please click here.

0

Fire safety team to inspect all high-rise residential buildings across South Yorkshire

A team of fire safety inspectors is embarking on an ambitious project to inspect all high-rise residential buildings across South Yorkshire, over 18 metres or with six or more storeys, by the end of next year.

This comes as part of a Government-driven ‘Building Risk Review’ programme that seeks to ‘significantly increase’ the pace of high-rise residential inspection activity across the country.

Made up of staff from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s (SYFR) business safety department, the specialist team has been funded by a specific Government grant.

As part of their work, the team will be contacting the responsible person for each high-rise residential building across South Yorkshire to arrange an inspection to assess the fire safety measures in place.

“Our aim, between now and the end of next year, is to physically inspect every high rise residential building in South Yorkshire,” said SYFR Area Manager, Simon Dunker, who is head of the service’s prevention and protection departments.

“We hope this work will provide reassurance to residents we are continuing to work to effect changes identified by the Grenfell inquiry and that resident safety remains our priority. We will work with building owners and managers to ensure any necessary work is carried out.”

Whilst this project is specifically targeted at residential buildings over 18 metres in height or with six or more storeys, inspectors are keen to stress all responsible persons should ensure they are fully aware of their fire safety responsibilities.

The service’s inspection officers, who are not directly involved in this project, will continue to inspect all buildings across South Yorkshire regardless of height.

Further information about the Building Risk Review project, and your fire safety responsibilities, can be found at www.syfire.gov.uk/business-advice.

0

Stark warning from man left with severe burns after garden fire disaster

A man from Sheffield, who set himself on fire when using petrol on his seemingly unlit garden fire, is urging people not to follow in his footsteps and make the same mistake.

Paul Wyatt, 50, was burning hedge trimmings in his garden earlier this year. He put paper on the bottom and hedge trimmings on top, before adding a match, which didn’t light the fire.

He decided to apply a drop of petrol, planning to step back and throw a match on. Unbeknown to him, the original match was still smouldering.

Immediately after pouring the fuel onto the fire, the oil drum he was burning his garden waste in ‘went up light a jet engine’ and set his upper body on fire.

Later that evening he was placed into an induced coma at the Northern General Hospital, with his face burnt and swelling, and doctors concerned about damage to his airways.

He has since made a good recovery but now has to use cream on his burns four times a day, has to wear factor 30 sun cream for a year and has nerve damage to his hands.

Paul, and his wife Ann, now hope that by sharing their story, they can prevent this happening to other people in the future.

“Having spoken to our friends, family and colleagues since the accident, it seems it’s a really common thing to use petrol to fuel a fire,” said Paul, who has to now do exercises to stretch his skin.

“The injuries I have will be with me for the rest of my life, but I know how lucky I am – the hospital staff said it was a good job I didn’t breathe in whilst my head was on fire as I could have damaged my airways and paid a much bigger price.

“I’ll certainly never add any kind of accelerant to a fire again and I’d really urge other people not to make the same mistake I did – it really isn’t worth it.”

Paul’s warning is being supported and echoed by fire officers from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, as part of their latest Operation Dark Nights bonfire campaign.

“We always tell people not to use accelerants on bonfires, in fact more recently we’re asking people not to have bonfires at all, and what happened to Paul is exactly why,” said Station Manager Steve Jones, who helps lead the joint police and fire community safety department.

“When it comes to petrol, even the vapours can set alight, and make the fire spread rapidly to the person holding the can. In this incident, it only took a split second and the top half of Paul’s body was totally ablaze.

“Ideally people won’t be having garden fires over the coming weeks but, if you must, don’t even think about adding an accelerant and make sure those you care about don’t, either.”

1+

Bonfire and firework advice

Bonfires

If you’re planning to have a bonfire at any time, but particularly during this firework period, please follow some simple safety guides to help you, your family, pets and wildlife stay safe.

Building your bonfire

  • Build your bonfire well away from, and clear of, buildings, garden sheds, fences, hedges and overhanging branches
  • Keep it to a manageable size and evenly built, so that it collapses inwards as it burns
  • Do not include plastics, household items or rubber in your fire

Lighting your bonfire

  • It is dangerous to use flammable liquids to help start a bonfire such as petrol or kerosene, use firelighters.
  • Do not burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries
  • Do not throw anything in the fire
  • Tell neighbours you are going to have a bonfire to avoid non-essential 999 calls

Double check

  • The bonfire’s construction is still sound before lighting it
  • There are no children or wildlife hiding in the fire
  • No hazardous items such as aerosols, sealed cans or fireworks have been thrown onto it

Remember

  • Never leave bonfires unattended – we recommend a bonfire should be supervised by an adult until it has burnt out
  • Once you are finished with the bonfire, dampen it down fully with water making sure that the embers are extinguished and surroundings are made safe before leaving
  • Keep a bucket of water or hosepipe nearby in case of an emergency
  • If the bonfire becomes out of control and catches foliage or property alight – call 999 immediately
  • If your clothes catch fire remember to STOP, DROP and ROLL and cool burns under running water for at least 20 minutes

Fireworks

Fireworks are something that can be enjoyed by all the family, but should be used safely, carefully and lawfully. Have a person dedicated to lighting your fireworks who is over 18 and remember that alcohol and fireworks do not mix.

If you are planning on having a firework display, you can help to avoid an emergency and/or upset by following our top tips:

  • Ensure the firework is the correct way up and secure – light at arms length using a taper and stand well back
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box away from the lighting location
  • Only buy fireworks that are CE marked and follow the instructions
  • Never go back to a firework that has been lit and don’t throw them or put them in your pocket
  • Keep pets indoors and let your neighbours know you’re having a display
  • Stick to the law – you can’t set off fireworks in public places and can’t set them off between 11pm and 7am – except for Bonfire Night when the cut off is midnight

Sparklers

  • Supervise children with sparklers at all times
  • Stick the end in a halved carrot to make it easier for little hands to hold
  • Light one sparkler at a time and wear gloves
  • Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for used sparklers
  • Let them fully cool before throwing them away

Useful information

Working Together on Firework Displays – The Blue Firework Guide –  This guide is specifically intended for organisers of firework displays, or events where fireworks are to be used, where the display is setup, fired and derigged by a professional display company and professional display companies as the basic information to enable them to communicate effectively with an event organiser to achieve a safe and effective display.

Giving Your Own Firework Display – The Red Firework Guide – The advice in this publication covers only those firework displays, normally at pubs, clubs or charity gatherings, where the organisers set off the fireworks themselves and have no specialist knowledge.

0

Emergency services issue guidance ahead of ‘different’ bonfire period

South Yorkshire’s emergency services are urging people to be sensible and stay safe over the coming weeks, during what they say will be a ‘very different’ bonfire period for everyone.

Trick or treating is being discouraged, in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as are Halloween and bonfire parties that break the current social distancing rules set out by the Government.

Meanwhile, firefighters are asking people to take extra care with fireworks and to avoid having garden bonfires that could grow out of control and tie up fire service resources.

The guidance comes as part of Operation Dark Nights – a campaign that is run jointly by the county’s three emergency services each year.

“We know how much people look forward to Halloween and the bonfire period, and clearly we don’t want to spoil the party after a tough year, but it’s so important that people stay safe,” said South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Station Manager Steve Jones, who helps lead the joint police and fire community safety department.

“With big, organised bonfire and firework displays being cancelled across the county, we expect people will be tempted to do their own. This is fine, but we do ask that people be sensible and take note of our advice around this.”

“Firstly, we really don’t want people be having garden bonfires. They spread so easily and tie up our resources. However, if you must have one, keep it away from trees, sheds and fences, and never use petrol or other accelerants to get it going.

“Secondly, if you’re going to use fireworks, only use genuine ones, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and, please, be sensible. Also, remember there are laws around when you can and can’t set them off.

“Last, but not least, is a plea around helping stop the spread of coronavirus. Please ensure you stick to the current laws and guidance. We all need to keep doing our bit and not use Bonfire Night as an excuse to let our guards down.”

Traditionally, staff from both the police and fire service have visited schools to talk to children about anti-social behaviour, trick or treating, fireworks and all things Bonfire Night. These visits won’t be taking place this year, due to the pandemic.

However, a joint effort between both agencies means that school pupils will still be getting vital input on these subjects. Instead of visiting each school, firefighters and police officers have filmed a series of videos that will be played in classrooms across South Yorkshire.

South Yorkshire Police Superintendent Sarah Poolman said: “We know this year will be different for everyone, but we want to ensure that however you celebrate, you are safe.

“It is important that whilst celebrating we don’t forget about Covid-19 and remember that we all still have a responsibility to keep each other safe.

“Your neighbourhood officers will be on patrol in the evenings to tackle any anti-social behaviour and breaches of the Covid-19 guidelines.

“As we increase our patrols, please remember that this is an extremely busy time for officers and call takers in the control room. We are asking our communities to think before you call 999 or 101.

“We have to prioritise the calls coming in to ensure our officers can respond to the most time critical and serious of incidents. We are asking those reporting a non-emergency crime do so through the online reporting form on our website.”

Speaking on behalf of Yorkshire Ambulance Service, Locality Manager, Jeremy Seymour, said: “The volume of work for Yorkshire Ambulance Service has significantly increased over the last two weeks and this has been reflected in the change to the local COVID Alert level this week in South Yorkshire.

“The Ambulance Service, as well as all local hospitals, are working extremely hard to provide the services everyone needs and deserves. We will continue to provide the emergency pre hospital care and support whenever and wherever we are needed.

“Please help us to protect you and the people closest to you by continuing to follow the advice given and support the Ambulance service to concentrate on those most in need.”

2+

Fire service exhibition goes digital to mark Black History Month

South Yorkshire’s fire service is taking its one-of-a-kind Black History Month exhibition online this October, in a bid to attract more people from BAME backgrounds to consider a fire and rescue service career.

Family, which was put together last year to pay homage to the diverse heritage of fire service staff, features portrait photographs of 11 employees past and present.

The portraits were exhibited at various locations across Sheffield last October – including the train station, Winter Gardens and Moor Market – inspiring a huge increase in people from African and Caribbean backgrounds registering their interest in a career with the service.

And now, ahead of this year’s Black History Month, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is taking the exhibition online to showcase the photographs in a COVID-safe way.

One thing that does remain the same, fire officers say, is the aim – to celebrate the contribution of staff and encourage more people, with diverse heritage, to consider a job within the fire service.

“We were keen to showcase the exhibition once again this year, following the fantastic reaction we had last year, but sadly most of the public places we had in mind are either closed or extremely quiet,” said Station Manager Delroy Galloway, who features in the exhibition and played a crucial role in pulling it together.

“However, fire services are used to having to adapt, and that’s what we have done. I’m delighted that we’re still going to be able to showcase the wonderful images and tell the stories of the people behind them.

“We want to show people from BAME backgrounds that a career in the fire and rescue service could be for them, and I’d really encourage anyone thinking about it to check out the digital exhibition, get inspired and register their interest with us today.”

Each of the portraits featured on the website were taken by Orestes Rix, a member of the service’s finance team who specialises in portrait photography outside his day job.

Click here to see the online exhibition, which includes the photographs and additional detail around why Black History Month is so important.

1+

Fire service issues ‘don’t cook drunk’ plea to students this winter

Fire officers in Sheffield are asking local students not to cook whilst drunk this winter and, instead, help keep fire engines free for more serious emergencies.

The plea follows the Government’s recent announcement that pubs must now close at 10pm, which firefighters feel could prompt an increase in home drinking, cooking and parties.

They say that this, in turn, could lead to an increase in call outs to student accommodation across the city – something South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is keen to prevent.

“We absolutely recognise how important it is that students enjoy their time at university, especially with what’s going on in the world right now, but we want to make sure they do it safely,” said Station Manager John Billings, who heads up the team at Central fire station.

“Something we’re very mindful of is that, with pubs now closing earlier to help stop the spread of COVID-19, students may be inclined to take the party back to their accommodation. We’ve no problem with this.

“Where we may have a problem, however, is if people start to act carelessly. From our perspective this can be extremely dangerous. Time and time again we are called to fires which have started when people have left the oven on and forgotten, or fallen asleep, due to alcohol or drugs.

“We’ve also attended lots of false alarms in the past where students have set fire alarms off for fun, or e-cigarettes and smoking have triggered smoke detection systems. Alcohol has been known to play a part in many of these cases, too.”

In order to reduce the risk to students, and to prevent an increase in calls, the service is asking them to do three things:

  • Get a takeaway rather than cooking drunk
  • Be mindful of smoke alarms when vaping or smoking
  • Do not use fire alarm call points unless there is a genuine emergency

These requests, which officers feel are reasonable, come ahead of a national Student Safety Week in October that SYFR has pledged to support.

“We think what we’re asking is fair and simple – we’re not trying to spoil anyone’s fun and don’t believe what we’re asking will have a huge impact on any big nights in,” added John.

“What it will do, though, is keep people safe, prevent our crews having to crash any parties and stop accommodation from being damaged or destroyed by fire.”

0

Recruitment opens for on-call firefighters across South Yorkshire

Six fire stations across South Yorkshire are recruiting now for on-call firefighters, with anyone interested urged to act quickly before the current recruitment window closes.

New recruits are needed at Penistone, Stocksbridge, Askern, Rossington, Birley and Dearne to help crews there respond to emergency calls and carry out important prevention work.

Anyone interested is urged to register their interest on the service’s website, here. Information about the next steps will then be sent out in due course.

On-call firefighters are local people who live or work within five minutes of their stations. They carry a pager when they are on-duty that alerts them when they are needed.

“The role our on-call firefighters play is vital – these are extraordinary people who drop everything when needed to attend emergency incidents in their local areas,” said SYFR Station Manager, Chris Tyler.

“They are given the same training as our full-time firefighters and, rightly, get exactly the same buzz, camaraderie and kudos that comes with such an important job.

“Our recruitment window will close at the end of September so I’d encourage anyone who wants to test themselves and fulfil this common childhood dream to act now.

“That especially includes anyone who is unsure whether this is the job for them. These are flexible roles and we will support people who have the right attitude and commitment.”

On-call staff are paid an annual ‘retainer’ fee and then get paid for each incident they attend. They are also paid for any community work they carry out and weekly training on station.

The flexible and adaptable nature of on-call firefighting means that it can be done on top of other full-time work, study or family commitments.

More information on the role can be found here. Alternatively, www.oncallfire.uk provides more detail about the major, national on-call recruitment drive that was launched last year.

1+