Rossington community now safer thanks to joint effort

People in Rossington now have access to a new life-saving piece of equipment thanks to a joint effort from the fire service and local parish council.

The new piece of kit, a public access defibrillator, was installed on the outside of Rossington fire station earlier this month – and is now the third of its kind in the village.

It was purchased by the parish council and then donated to South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, with plans now afoot to identify other stations in Doncaster that could host this equipment.

“Clearly the more defibrillators we can have, in and around our communities, the better,” said Doncaster’s Group Manager, Shayne Tottie.

“We’re really pleased with this partnership and although we hope nobody ever has to use it, we’re glad to have made it three defibrillators in the Rossington village.

“I’d like to thank the parish council for donating this equipment to us and we’re now looking at other stations in the district where we could do something similar.

“Fighting fires is a key part of what we do, but it’s definitely not the only thing we do. Our vision is to make South Yorkshire a safer and stronger place and this new piece of kit definitely does that.”

Should it be needed the defibrillator can be accessed with a code provided by Yorkshire Ambulance Service’s 999 call handlers.

Statistics show that if a defibrillator is used within one minute of someone collapsing then their survival rate increases to 90 percent.

Anyone can use the equipment as there are clear instructions on how to attach the pads – with the machine itself then telling you if and when to administer a shock.

Community safety projects deliver huge returns for South Yorkshire public

Work done by the service’s joint fire and police community safety team has saved society millions of pounds, in addition to making people safer, a report says.

Produced by a team of social return on investment experts, the report looks at different areas of work carried out by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police in recent years.

One of these projects is the fire service’s ‘Home Safety Visit’ scheme that, according to the findings, generates a potential £15 saving to society for every pound spent.

This is based on the economic cost to society of house fires and injuries – which are reduced as a result of safety visits – in comparison to the cost of the visits themselves.

The fire service’s ‘Safe & Well Check’ scheme was also evaluated in the report, as was ‘Think Family’ – a programme that targets the families of young people involved in arson.

These two initiatives have saved £30 and £25 for every pound spent on them, respectively, with the five areas of work examined estimated to have saved society around £30 million in total.

“Our community safety staff work tirelessly all year round and clearly we’re really pleased with the results of this study,” said Area Manager Steve Helps, head of the service’s joint police and fire community safety department.

“We’ve been able to see the success of our work in recent years through incident reductions but it’s really good for us to see what financial benefits have been brought about for local people.

“The reality is that the incidents we attend don’t just affect us. An arson attack, for example, affects our communities, our colleagues at the police, the court services and of course the owner of the property which has been damaged – be it on public land, such as in a park, or on private land.

“Then you take a house fire where someone’s been injured. Not only does it affect us but the ambulance service and local hospitals will be involved, too, as they will often spend thousands of pounds providing immediate care and long-term rehabilitation for those affected.

“There’s then the cost of repairing damage caused to the property and the effects on the occupants who may have to have time off work.

“By reducing incidents through the work the joint department has done we’ve not only been able to make South Yorkshire safer, but we’ve been able to save the public purse a lot of money, and we’re really proud of that.”

The other schemes evaluated in the study were Crucial Crew and the service’s programme of school presentations – of which there are three different types dependent on age group.

Crucial Crew, which is led by South Yorkshire Police staff, sees 16,000 year six school children spend a day at the Lifewise Centre in Rotherham each year – where they are taught about the impact of anti-social behaviour, cyber crime, arson and citizenship, along with much more.

The aim of this project is to build good relationships between children and police, prevent young people from being a victim of crime and also prevent them from getting involved in crime.

The research found that this saved £10 for every pound spent – as did the fire service’s programme of educational school visits.

Fire service asks for public help after hottest summer on record

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is asking the public to help reduce needless grass, garden and bin fires this summer after last year’s record heat led to a huge spike in incidents.

The service is today, Monday 22 July, launching its ‘Do Your Bit’ campaign to tie in with the six-week holidays – which figures show is prime time for these types of fire.

As part of the campaign fire officers are asking people to be extra careful with barbeques, hold off on garden bonfires and take specific action to reduce the risk of arson in their areas.

This includes only taking wheelie bins out on the morning of collection, rather than leaving them out overnight, ensuring streets and parks are clear of loose rubbish and reporting suspicious behaviour to South Yorkshire Police on 101.

It is hoped that, combined with a range of prevention work that the service has already done around this issue, the campaign will result in a reduction in incidents during the summer period and, ultimately, less strain on resources.

“This campaign ties together a lot of work that is being done across South Yorkshire – including arson prevention patrols by our fire crews and a programme of ‘light nights’ school visits by our community safety team,” said Station Manager Matt Gillatt, who works within the joint police and fire community safety department.

“Last summer was great for so many reasons but it was also unusually busy for us as a service. We were called to 1,560 deliberate secondary fires (grass, rubbish, bins, scrubland) in July and August alone – which is well over double the 692 we attended the year before.

“This is just one incident type, too. On top of the secondary fires are things like vehicle and accidental garden fires – and of course we’ve still got things like road traffic collisions, house fires and water rescues to deal with.

“Whilst we can’t control the weather we’re keen to try and crack down on some of these incidents – as clearly small fires all have the potential to spread and put people at risk. Fortunately, our insight suggests that many of them could have been prevented.

“This is why we’re asking the public for their help – by taking our advice and being a bit more vigilant around fire during hot weather we think people can make a real difference.”

As well as the arson prevention patrols and school visits, the service will be releasing a series of videos during the summer showing the impact that these incidents have on staff.

Firefighters will also be working with farmers to ensure they have adequate arson prevention measures in place, and that they know what to do should a fire hit.

Key advice to the public is:

  • Don’t leave wheelie bins out overnight and keep gardens and streets free of rubbish
  • Don’t have bonfires during warm weather and be careful with disposable barbeques – not just when using them but when binning them too
  • Report arson to the police and speak to your kids about the dangers of fire-setting

Reporting fly-tipping:

Fly-tipping is a problem for us. Loose rubbish, large or small, can be a target for arsonists. It also makes your local area look untidy.

Advice leaflet:

Service re-launches smoke alarm reminder service

People can now opt to receive free weekly reminders to test their smoke alarms thanks to an initiative kick-started today, Monday 8 July, by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.

The service has just refreshed its website, www.pressthebutton.co.uk, where people can opt into alerts either via Twitter, text or email.

Hundreds of people signed up to get the reminders when the website was first launched, a number of years ago, and it is hoped that more people will now follow suit.

“We’ve been asking people to regularly test their smoke alarms for quite some time now, but we’re very aware that everyone has extremely busy lives,” said Station Manager Matt Gillatt, from the joint police and fire community safety team.

“With everything going on smoke alarm testing can easily be forgotten – even if it does only take a second and can potentially save your life.

“Our dream is that everyone tests their smoke alarm each week, without fail, and our hope is that this reminder service helps bring us closer to fulfilling that dream.”

Visitors to the website are asked to input their name and either a phone number, email address or Twitter handle – they can then choose to get weekly or monthly reminders.

The service in South Yorkshire recommends weekly and, according to Matt, the majority of people signed up at present choose to get their reminders via email.

“Smoke alarms give you an early warning should a fire hit and have been responsible not only for saving multiple lives across our county in recent years, but also for helping limit damage to people’s homes.

“Whilst protecting life is what we’re here for, it’s important to remember that getting hurt isn’t the only risk that fire poses. A house fire, even where nobody is involved, can turn your life around and be a huge inconvenience.

“I’d highly recommend people take a few minutes to opt in to these reminders and, when you get them each week, you act on the prompt.”

The re-launch comes after a Sheffield woman credited working smoke alarms for her escape from a fire that gutted her flat, on Park Grange Croft, in November last year.

Patricia Proctor was just about to get in the shower at around 10.30am, on Friday 30 November, when her smoke alarms – which had been fitted by the fire service only weeks before – went off.

Unable to see the fire herself, which was developing in a boiler cupboard and starting to spread within her walls, Patricia thought the alarms may just be sounding as a test – until her neighbours, and subsequently her son, knocked on the door and got her out of the property.

The 80-year-old, who had been referred to South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue by Age UK in September last year, said: “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even know or see that it was a fire, I didn’t know you could have electrical fires in boiler cupboards.

“I thought everyone had smoke alarms but you can see why they put them in, if you’ve not got them. They don’t just do it for no reason.”

You can sign up for the free reminders at www.pressthebutton.co.uk.

Firefighters praise new lifesaving equipment for pets

Pets across the county are now safer than ever thanks to a new type of oxygen mask on our fire engines.

In partnership with the non-profit organisation, Smokey Paws, each of our fire appliances have now been equipped with a pet oxygen mask.

As a nation of animal lovers, we want the best for our pets, especially in the event of a fire. Smoke inhalation from a fire is just as much a risk with pets as their human owners. Until now firefighters have used the same oxygen mask for pets as people.

These new masks- largely made possible in South Yorkshire by donations from Aqua Vet Hydroherapy- are specially designed to fit over the snout of an animal and come in three different sizes to deliver a better flow of oxygen to the animal, increasing their chance of survival.

Smokey Paws was created by Lynn Carberry and her husband Brian Lockyer, in Weston-super-Mare and have provided critical, pet life-saving oxygen masks to the UK’s fire services.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has attended 133 house fires over the past five years which have involved pets.

At the beginning of June our fire crews attended a house fire in Sheffield where a dog was rescued, firefighters successfully used a Smokey Paws mask to revive the dog.

Station Manager Wayne Sutcliffe said; “We attend many house fires where pets are involved, in the past we have used normal oxygen masks to attempt to revive them.

“Thankfully with the supply of these specifically designed masks we will now be able to save even more beloved family pets.”

A spokesperson for Smokey Paws said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped our campaign, working towards our mission of making sure every UK fire engine is equipped with our masks, with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service now fully equipped thanks to kind donations.

“To hear that these masks have already made a difference in the area reinforces their importance and spurs us on to complete our mission!”

Fire service steps up as part of national water safety week

Local firefighters will be visiting lakes and reservoirs across the county next week, commencing Monday 17 June, as South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue turns its attention to water safety and drowning prevention.

The work comes as the service gives its backing to a national Drowning Prevention Week – which is being spearheaded by The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK).

Collectively SYFR, and RLSS UK, want to try and reduce the 700 drownings that occur across the UK and Ireland each year.

During the course of the week crews will be visiting water sites that they have previously attended, and that have been identified by the public through an online campaign.

Whilst there they will be identifying any potential risks and outlining what preventative measures could be put in place at each location.

Station Manager Tom Hirst, who has been organising the service’s activity, is hoping that the work being done will help make South Yorkshire’s water sites safer for local people.

“Water rescues are one of the many incident types we attend and, sadly, we’ve had a number of calls in recent years where people have drown in open bodies of water,” he said.

“Even in hot weather, when people start to get attracted to lakes and reservoirs, water can be freezing cold and, as such, extremely dangerous.

“Our ambition is to try and stop drownings altogether but, of course, that will require a strong collective effort. That work starts this week.

“We’ve got a long list of sites, right across the county, that we’ll be visiting – and risk assessing. We can then identify places that might benefit from things such as security fencing, floatation equipment and warning signage.”

As well as being supported by local crews, the service’s community safety teams will be visiting local schools and youth groups to explain the dangers of playing in, or near, water.

“Our advice for the public, especially with summer coming, is to just be extra careful around open water. Unless you’re part of an authorised open water swimming group, keep out of it.

“Even if it looks nice and appealing, you have no idea how cold it is, what lies beneath the water or indeed what water borne bacteria and diseases might be in the water itself.”

According to officers, the dangers of unauthorised swimming in open water include it being much deeper and colder than people might think, the presence of diseases and bacteria in the water and the stuff – such as trollies, weeds and hidden currents – that might lie beneath.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has recently launched its new ‘Float To Live’ campaign, which encourages anyone who gets caught in open water to fight the urge to swim and focus on floating until help arrives.

Aston Park crew finds the time for older residents

Older people from in and around the Aston area attended a special open day, held at their local fire station, earlier this week.

The event, which took place on Tuesday 21 May, saw over 20 people given specific advice and guidance on how they can stay safe from fire, and other risks, in their homes – over tea and scones.

This advice came from various different agencies – including South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, as well as the fire service.

The event was delivered in line with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s latest safety campaign, Find The Time, and included a slipper swap, with each of the attendees being given a brand new pair of non-slip slippers in exchange for their old ones.

Home safety checks, for after the event, were also organised for the attendees.

“The feedback from the event was really positive, so much so that we’ve been asked to run another event later in the year,” said Aston Park Station Manager Gavin Jones, who organised the open day.

“Not only did all of the attendees enjoy it, and have an opportunity to socialise and meet new people, but collectively we hope that the safety advice, the new slippers and a chair based exercise session that was also delivered will make these people safer, happier and healthier.

“I’d like to thank all those who attended and, of course, everyone who helped run the event.”

Fire and Police join forces on water rescue training

Six police officers from South Yorkshire have received specialist water rescue training thanks to a unique collaboration with the fire service’s specialist training school.

The ‘water rescue champions’ from South Yorkshire Police recently completed a water rescue first responder course delivered by expert trainers at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue. The course provided the officers with basic water rescue skills and awareness that they can use when they are first on scene to a water related emergency situation.

The two day course, which took place in Wales, covered a number of simple rescue techniques such as; a tethered swim, the use of throwlines, wading techniques, understanding the dangers of water and the use of water rescue gear.

Station Manager at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, Darren Robertson said: “Around 400 people needlessly drown in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences. By working closely with our partner agencies and sharing skills and knowledge through training, we can work towards reducing these numbers.

“Not only does collaborating on training like this save both services and the public money, but it also ensures we are delivering the best possible service to the people of South Yorkshire.”

As a result of the training, South Yorkshire Police have also purchased a number of throwlines to keep in patrol vehicles in case of a water rescue emergency.

Inspector at South Yorkshire Police, Alan McFarlane said: “The preservation of life is the most important duty the police have. The Rotherham district contains a number of bodies of open water, including Manvers Lake, where there have sadly been a number of drownings over the years.

“In order to increase the police’s ability to act effectively in open-water emergencies, the Rotherham District has purchased a number of throw-bag rescue aids to be carried in patrol cars.

“Having a number of officers trained in basic water rescue means they can now share this water awareness knowledge with other officers in the force.

“We are grateful for the support we have received from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue which will improve our capabilities, coordination with the fire service and ultimately help to keep the people of South Yorkshire safe.”

The Policing & Crime Act 2017 placed 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 dangers of open water are:

  • The water can be much deeper than you expect
  • Rivers, lakes, canals and reservoirs are much colder than you think
  • Open water can carry water borne diseases, like Weils disease
  • Cold water dramatically affects your ability to swim
  • There may be hidden currents, which can pull you under the water
  • You don’t know what lies beneath, like pieces of rubbish or reeds which can trap or injure you

Fire service seeks views from public on draft plans

The fire service is calling on people in South Yorkshire to have their say on how it plans to meet a financial shortfall of up to £4million.

Draft plans considered by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s governing Fire Authority last month propose reducing the number of firefighters on a fire engine from five to four.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says the only alternative to making the change- which has already been adopted by many other services nationwide- is to reduce the speed of its 999 response during the night time period from up to half of its fire stations.

The organisation faces cost pressures of up to £4 million, due to no longer being able to use a way of staffing fire stations called Close Proximity Crewing and because it may have to meet a significant, national shortfall in pension contributions.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson, said: “We’d rather not make any changes at all, but have a duty to match our resources to local risk and to manage the service in a financially responsible way.

“We face cost pressures of up to £4 million and the extent of the savings required is inevitably going to mean changes to the way we provide our 999 service to the public.

“We think it is better to reduce the number of firefighters on a fire engine, than it is to slow down our response times to some of our communities by reducing the number of fire engines which are immediately available.

“Now we are publishing our draft plans and invite the public to share their views on them.”

All fire and rescue authorities must provide a plan which sets out the steps they will take and resources they need to deliver public safety, reduce fires and save lives. This is known as an Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). It must be publicly available, reflect consultation with stakeholders and demonstrate the most up-to-date analysis of local risk.

People can share their views via an online survey, at www.syfire.gov.uk/haveyoursay, or in writing to IRMP Consultation, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, 197 Eyre Street, Sheffield S1 3FG. The consultation will run for 12-weeks, across May, June, July and August.

Once the consultation period has ended and feedback has been considered, Fire Authority members will make the final decision on the proposals.

Have your say – public consultation

We’re calling on people across South Yorkshire to have their say on how we plan to meet a four million pound financial shortfall.

We currently face cost pressures of up to £4million, due to no longer being able to use a way of staffing our fire stations called Close Proximity Crewing, and because we might have to meet a significant, national shortfall in pension contributions.

Our proposals, which are outlined in our draft Integrated Risk Management Plan, were considered by our governing Fire Authority last month.

The key proposal within this plan is to reduce the number of firefighters on a fire engine from five to four, in order to maintain the number of fire engines we have available 24/7 across the county.

This is a change that has already been adopted by many services across the country and we would rather so this than reduce the speed of our 999 response, during the night, at up to half of our fire stations.

In making this change we would review our existing procedures to ensure the safety of our firefighters and, importantly, would continue to commit breathing apparatus wearers to house fires regardless of whether we have a five or four person crew – with other fire engines providing back-up as needed.

We’re now publishing our draft plans, which you can see via the link above, and want you to have your say via the survey below. The consultation will run for 12-weeks, across May, June, July and August.

Before filling out the survey – we have published a series of Frequently Asked Questions that outline why we need to make these savings, what else we’ve done to save money, why we can’t use our reserves and more.

This form collects some personal information – which will be used for monitoring purposes only, to ensure we capture views from people across the whole of South Yorkshire. By sending us a completed form you are agreeing for your data to be used in this way. More information on data sharing and protection can be found here.