South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Service issues ‘look out for your loved ones’ plea on Older Peoples Day

People across South Yorkshire are being urged to find the time to check on a loved one this week – as part of Older Persons Day which takes place today, Monday 1 October.

The day coincides with a national Home Safety Week initiative, which runs until Sunday 7 October, and follows a recent fire that involved the death of a Rotherham man who was in his 70s.

An inquest into the man’s death heard that the cause of said fire, which occured in November last year, was a wheat bag that had been left in the microwave too long.

Firefighters were called to another similar fire recently and, whilst nobody was hurt in this instance, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is calling on people to find time this week to check in with their elderly friends, relatives and neighbours who may begin to struggle as the weather drops and winter draws closer.

“We know we have an ageing population and as people get older they can become more vulnerable through things such as limited mobility,” said Area Manager Steve Helps, who heads up the service’s community safety team.

“Sadly this, amongst other things such as colder weather, taking medication and living alone, can put older people are a higher risk of fire. We’ve visited people in the past, for example, who are unable to test their smoke alarm for the simple reason that they can’t reach it.

“Together with our partners we do a lot of work to support the elderly in South Yorkshire and we need people to refer those who they feel might need our support to us. This is why we’re asking people that if they have an elderly relative, or neighbour, that they feel might be at a heightened risk of fire – then get in touch.

“It takes five minutes to fill in the home safety visit referral on our website and, for something so quick, it could lead to a life-saving intervention. Also, checking in to test somebody’s smoke alarm takes no time at all so if you can, please do.”

During 2017/18 there were five fire deaths in South Yorkshire as a result of accidental dwelling fires – two in Sheffield, two in Rotherham and two in Barnsley. Each of these incidents involved a man with two out of five being in their 50s, and the remaining three being in their late 60s and 70s.

Meanwhile nationally, figures show that the rate of fire-related fatalities (deaths per million people) generally increases with age.

Our Home Safety Visit referral form can be filled in here – it is a short form and once filled in, if eligible, you will be contacted by one of our team.

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Dream becomes reality for Darnall and Rotherham fire volunteer

One of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s (SYFR) numerous fire volunteers saw their hard work pay off recently as they completed their initial firefighter recruits course.

Rob Hall – who first started as a fire cadet at Darnall fire station before becoming a volunteer cadet instructor there when he turned 18 – was part of the 61st group of trainees that graduated recently.

He had volunteered at Darnall, and subsequently Rotherham, from starting there in 2013 to the start of his firefighter training course earlier this year. Before starting his training Rob also spent around 4 months as the cadet branch manager at Stocksbridge fire station.

He is now at the start of what he hopes will be a long and rewarding firefighting career with SYFR and said his volunteering experience helped give him a realistic insight into the role of a modern-day firefighter.

He added: “People often think the role of a firefighter is zooming around in fire engines, rescuing cats from trees and pulling people from burning buildings. My volunteering experience showed me that it was about much more than that and that knowledge was really useful during the application and training process.

“I’ve always enjoyed helping others and volunteering gave me the opportunity to do just that. The most rewarding part for me was being able to see how the scheme benefited the cadets.

“I’ve seen some cadets join as really shy young people, who struggled to make new friends, but then leave with confidence and new friends – both of which will hopefully benefit them for years to come.

“For anybody thinking about getting involved in volunteering I would say go for it – it’s a fantastic experience and makes a real difference.”

Volunteer fire cadet instructors work with teenagers aged between 13 and 17-years-old and help them develop their self-confidence and life skills through fire and rescue related activity.

To find out more about being a volunteer email volunteers@syfire.gov.uk or visit http://www.syfire.gov.uk/find-a-job/volunteering/.

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Fire funded sprinklers installed in historic Thorne autism residential home

Sprinklers installed in the converted home of a Doncaster brewery magnate now used to support people with autism, have been hailed as proof that the potentially lifesaving equipment can be fitted in almost any setting.

The devices have been fitted at charity Autism Plus’ residential living service, Thorne House, once the home of Thorne Brewery owners the Darley family, despite the challenges of fitting the devices in a historic building.

The sprinkler scheme behind the installation, which has been part funded by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority was carefully planned and communicated to the people living in the property, considering the needs of residents with autism and learning disabilities to ensure that anyone affected by the noise of building work, unfamiliar visitors and disruption to their daily routines was kept to a minimum.

All five apartments and other rooms and communal spaces in the home are protected and all pipework and sprinklers heads have been concealed to limit the affect on some of the internal architectural features of the late Victorian building.

Fire officers say the installation is proof of their commitment to championing the use of sprinklers in higher risk, residential settings.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “Sprinklers are a cost effective way of making homes safer – they stop fires from spreading, put them out quickly and save lives. We are especially concerned about those people who are most at risk of fire such as those with mobility or mental health issues or people with dementia who may not know how to react, or be able to react quickly enough, if they hear a smoke alarm.

“We play a key leadership role in helping people to better understand the benefits of sprinklers as part our commitment to reduce the impact of fire on people, property and the environment. This scheme, despite its obvious challenges, is proof of the fact that these potentially life saving devices can be fitted in almost any setting.”

The fire service last year announced a fund to encourage more housing providers to install them in buildings lived in by those residents most at risk from fire.

SYFR is one of the leading fire services in the country for its pioneering use of sprinklers in high risk residential settings, leading a UK first project to retrofit an automated system at the Callow Mount block of flats in Gleadless. That scheme is now internationally recognised for the improved safety it offers the people living within the building.

It has also worked alongside Sheffield City Council to make more than 540 properties in the city safer by installing lifesaving sprinkler systems at council owned flats in Gleadless Valley, Westfield, Stannington and Netherthorpe. This project was another UK first.

The installation of sprinkler systems in new build homes is now mandatory in Wales and SYFR is actively promoting the use of this type of protection in all types of buildings to build resilience and safety into local communities.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s sprinkler fund is open to any social or private housing provider. It will part fund those projects which demonstrate the best value and innovation in protecting the most vulnerable people possible from fire.  It forms part of the Stronger Safer Communities Reserve, with money set aside from the Authority’s reserves. Autism Plus won £159,000 in funding from the Fire Authority for this scheme.

Fire Authority Chair, Cllr Chris Lamb, said: “This fund exists to do exactly what it says on the tin – to help make South Yorkshire safer and stronger.

“It is clear that sprinklers can potentially save not only property, but lives too, and we hope this example will encourage other housing providers to consider getting such systems installed, especially in the homes of our more vulnerable residents.”

For more information, visit http://www.syfire.gov.uk/business-advice/sprinklers-2/.

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Service makes plea to local businesses as part of national safety initiative

Firefighters from across South Yorkshire have attended more than 1,500 fires in non-domestic properties in the last five years, figures show.

The revelation comes as South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) joins forces with fire services across the country next week (Monday 10 September) as part of a national business safety campaign.

As part of the initiative, which runs for the full week, fire officers are urging business owners and managers to ensure their risk assessments are up to date and, if they aren’t, to get in touch and take advantage of the support available.

“When we talk about business fire safety, and fire risk assessments, it’s not just a form filling exercise – it is a process which helps safeguard businesses from the devastation that fire can cause,” said SYFR Business Support & Policies Officer, John Parry.

“The sheer fact that we’ve attended such a large amount of fires, in non-domestic properties, in the last five years shows that this is a real issue. A fire, be it accidental or deliberate, can in some circumstances stop a business from trading altogether.

“Our message to local businesses, especially SMEs who might be particularly vulnerable, is therefore really simple – if you’ve not got an updated fire risk assessment in place or you have any concerns at all about fire safety then get in touch. We are here to help!”

In addition to urging businesses to ensure their fire risk assessments are up to date, SYFR is also offering a range of business-specific safety advice during the week.

This includes good housekeeping, keeping escape routes clear, providing appropriate firefighting equipment and taking steps to protect against arson and deliberate fire-setting.

Another way that business owners can safeguard themselves from fire is through sprinklers – which are able to detect and potentially extinguish fires before they get out of control and cause lasting damage.

More information on sprinklers, and contact details for the SYFR Sprinkler Lead, can be found here: http://www.syfire.gov.uk/business-advice/sprinklers-2/.

To get in touch with the SYFR Business Safety Team – who will be able to offer information and advice on commercial and industrial premises – please visit http://www.syfire.gov.uk/business-advice/get-in-touch-2/.

National Business Safety Week is championed by the National Fire Chiefs Council and runs from Monday 10 until Friday 16 September. The initiative is supported by fire and rescue services across the country and aims to make businesses aware of the help and support available to them.

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Sprinkler system installed to safeguard Rotherham care facility residents

Residents of a high dependency care facility in a Rotherham suburb are now safer from fire than ever before thanks to a fire funded sprinkler initiative.

The 15 bedded facility – which is based within three large bungalows in Thurcroft – houses people with both learning disabilities and mobility problems.

It is run by the South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) who, earlier this year, won match funding from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s (SYFRA) sprinkler fund to pay for a state-of-the-art sprinkler system.

Installed earlier this year the devices cover every room in each of the three buildings and, combined with the existing fire alarm system, provide residents with a high level of fire protection.

“The people living within this facility are some of the most vulnerable in South Yorkshire which is why we’re really pleased that they now have such an effective fire protection system in place,” said South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s Sprinkler Advocate, Roger Brason.

“We know that sprinklers are a cost-effective way of making homes safer as they stop fires from spreading and in most cases actually put them out fully. We’re passionate about helping people better understand this and the benefits of these potentially life-saving systems.”

Following the installation of the system a cheque was presented, by Councillor Alan Atkin on behalf of the Fire Authority, to SYHA earlier this week (Wednesday 22 August).

The sprinkler fund was made available last year. It is open to any social or private housing provider and will part fund those projects which demonstrate the best value and innovation in protecting the most vulnerable people possible from fire.

This facility is one of five places that were awarded match funding from the Fire Authority when it made the sprinkler fund available last year.

It is hoped that the work done so far to install these systems will encourage more housing providers to consider installing sprinklers in their buildings – especially in the homes of residents considered at higher risk of fire.

The sprinkler fund forms part of the SYFRA’s Stronger Safer Communities Reserve Fund, with money set aside from the Authority’s reserves.

For more information on sprinklers please visit http://www.syfire.gov.uk/business-advice/sprinklers-2/.

The picture above shows Councillor Alan Atkin presenting a cheque, on behalf of the Fire Authority, to South Yorkshire Housing Association.

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Youngsters enjoy firefighter experience at Parkway fire station

A group of children from all across the country have been given a day to remember thanks to Parkway Blue Watch.

The youngsters, all of which have a limb difference, attended the station with their families as part of an event organised by the Barnsley-based LimbBo Foundation and Nick Abbott, station manager at Parkway.

They took part in a variety of fire and rescue related activities ranging from trying on fire kit to squirting water – all with the help and supervision of Parkway firefighters.

A ride in a fire engine was also on the agenda thanks to the National Emergency Services Museum which provided a non-operational appliance for the children to ride in.

“The communities we serve are at the centre of everything we do so we were really pleased to welcome the children, and their families, onto station and give them an insight into our work,” said Nick.

“They were so well behaved and seemed to love every minute. The fire engine ride and water squirting in particular went down really well and it was great to see the massive smiles on the children’s faces.”

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