South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Firefighter Mason joins Rossington on-call crew after being rescued as a child

Fifteen years after being rescued from flooding as a child, a Rossington man has joined the same on-call firefighting crew that saved him.

Mason Stead, 19, was one of five firefighter recruits who graduated from their intense training course earlier this month.

He is now an operational firefighter at Rossington fire station, responding from home or work when people in the community need him and the crew.

Mason, who was four-years-old when rescued from the 2007 floods, says he has dreamt of being a firefighter ever since that moment.

“Being rescued from the floods all those years ago isn’t something I’ve ever forgotten, and since that moment I have dreamt of being a firefighter and being able to help someone else in their hour of need, like the Rossington crew did for me,” he added.

“The training course we’ve been on over the last few months has been challenging, in every sense, but to complete it is the most rewarding feeling in the world.

“I’m extremely proud to have passed the course and now be a part of the Rossington crew that does such good work in the community.”

The service is currently recruiting for on-call firefighters at Askern, Rossington and Penistone – with officers urging anyone interested to register quickly, as time is running out.

This latest recruitment window runs until the end of March, with the next on-call recruitment drive taking place in September this year.

On-call firefighters have the same high standard of training as full-time firefighters, but they operate on a ‘part-time’ basis and respond either from home or a place of work when alerted by a pager.

“Our on-call staff are ordinary people that do an extra ordinary job. Whilst their contracts may be part-time, their commitment is so much more than that,” said Station Manager Chris Tyler, who oversees on-call recruitment for the service.

“This latest recruitment drive has come off the back of some huge success in recent years – seeing us go from seven stations with vacancies to only three.

“For people who live within these three station areas, it’s a massive opportunity to take on a rewarding role that will see you serve your community and earn extra cash.”

Anyone interested in joining the service as an on-call firefighter is encouraged to first register their interest in a role, here. Please note, you must live or work within a five/six minute travel time of the station to be considered for a role.

Have a go days!

Would you like to try your hand at being a firefighter?

We’re running a series of have a go and have a chat sessions that will give you a chance to meet our staff, answer any questions, learn about the recruitment process and, ultimately, try your hand at some of our practical tests.

The dates are below and you need to book your place by emailing positiveaction@syfire.gov.uk – please note that we can only accept applications from people living within South Yorkshire.

WEEK ONE – The role of a firefighter – Zoom
Tuesday 22 March – 10am OR Wednesday 23 March – 6.30pm

WEEK TWO – The recruitment and selection process – Zoom
Tuesday 29 March – 10am OR Wednesday 30 March – 6.30pm

WEEK THREE – The practical tests – Zoom
Tuesday 5 April – 10am OR Wednesday 13 April – 6.30pm

WEEK FOUR – Firefighter fitness – Zoom
Tuesday 12 April – 10am OR Wednesday 13 April – 6.30pm

HAVE A GO DAY – Face to face
Sunday 3 April OR Sunday 22 May

Service launches exhibition as part of International Women’s Day

Inspirational women from across South Yorkshire’s fire service are being celebrated this week, as part of a brand new ‘Women of Fire’ exhibition.

Pulled together by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, as part of International Women’s Day, the exhibition features portrait photographs of eight women currently working within the service.

Organisers say that the exhibition has been designed to support this year’s official women’s day theme – #BreakTheBias – by celebrating the huge contributions of women to the fire service.

Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson, features alongside firefighters, senior leaders, corporate staff and control room operators.

She says that the exhibition has been designed to support this year’s official women’s day theme – #BreakTheBias – by celebrating the huge contributions of women to the fire service.

“We’re starting to see a really positive change in the perceptions around women in the fire service, which has been great, but we can’t stop now,” she said.

“Right across the country we have amazing women doing a vital role in the UK fire and rescue sector, as they have been for years, and International Women’s Day provides us with the perfect platform to celebrate this.

“This exhibition has been designed to show that you can be a woman, and a firefighter, both at the same time. The staff featured in the portraits are living examples of that.

“So if you’re a woman who has long considered applying for a career in the fire service, but you’ve never made the leap, we want you to check out our exhibition.

“Every woman in those photos has done it, and so can you.”

The physical ‘Women of Fire’ exhibition will be showcased at the Winter Gardens, Sheffield, between Wednesday 9 March and Monday 14 March.

Each of the staff involved in the exhibition has had two photos taken to capture two sides of their character – one reflecting their life at work and one reflecting their life outside of it.

The service has also developed a website dedicated to the exhibition – this can be viewed at Women of Fire (women-of-fire.co.uk) – and includes details of all those featured in the photographs.

The photographs for the exhibition were captured by Orestes S Rix, a portrait photographer who previously worked on the service’s FAMILY exhibition for Black History Month.

The service would also like to thank North Notts College who provided media make-up students who supported the exhibition.

Delight as service completes ambitious high-rise inspection project

All high-rise residential buildings in South Yorkshire have now been inspected by the county’s fire service, as part of a mammoth Government-backed project.

The team of inspectors, made up of staff from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s business safety department, started their ambitious inspection programme last November.

This came as part of a Government-driven ‘Building Risk Review’ project that sought to significantly increase the pace of high-rise inspection activity across the country.

In scope for the inspectors were all high-rise residential buildings, across South Yorkshire, that were over 18 metres in height.

Their aim was to have inspected all of these buildings by the end of 2021 – a target that, much to the delight of the team and senior officers across the service, has been met.

“When the team set out on this project, we all knew that the timescales were very ambitious, and a lot of hard work and dedication would be needed to meet them,” said Area Manager Simon Dunker, the service’s head of prevention and protection at the time this project began.

“What they have done is remarkable and they should all be really proud – for our service to have inspected all our high-rise residential buildings in just over a year is fantastic.

“And this isn’t just good news for us, either. Its good news for residents right across the county who can sleep that little bit easier, now, knowing that these checks have been done.”

Celebrations aside, inspectors are keen to stress that their work around high-rise buildings will still carry on throughout 2022 and beyond.

The inspection team will continue to work with building management and owners to ensure the project’s findings are implemented.

They will also join back up with other business fire safety officers who have been continuing to inspect all buildings, regardless of height, over the last 12 months.

More information about the now completed Building Risk Review project, and your fire safety responsibilities as a building owner, can be found at www.syfire.gov.uk/business-advice.

Life-changing opportunity awaits South Yorkshire youngsters

Young people across South Yorkshire are being given the opportunity to change their lives in the New Year, thanks to the county’s police and fire services.

South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue will once again be teaming up to deliver the ‘life-changing’ Prince’s Trust Team Programme course in January.

This is a course for people who are between 16 and 25-years-old and not currently in work or full-time education.

Lasting 12 weeks in total, the programme gives young people the chance to meet new friends, gain personal confidence and develop a wide range of life-skills.

Importantly, it involves work placements that give the youngsters valuable experience and contacts – with lots of previous participants landing meaningful work afterwards.

Former Royal Marine, John Daley, who is currently team leader for the South Yorkshire Prince’s Trust Programme, believes this really is a ‘New Year, New You’ opportunity.

“Over the years I’ve watched on proudly as these courses have changed hundreds of young lives, they really do make a huge impact,” he said.

“In most cases, participants come away after 12 weeks with us feeling like a totally new person. Over the course of the programme they meet new friends, gain qualifications, work experience and a range of life skills.

“We also spend time looking at things such as drug awareness, good nutrition, mental health and general healthy living.

“If you know someone that is between 16 and 25-years-old, who is currently not in work or full-time education and, ultimately, needs a bit of a boost – please get in touch with us as this programme could really change their lives.”

There will be two courses commencing in January with 12 places on each. Anyone interested should email princestrust@syfire.gov.uk.

The first course will be based at Parkway Fire Station in Sheffield, and begins on Monday 17 January. The second will be based at Dearne Fire Station in Rotherham, and begins on Monday 24 September.

Press the button plea from South Yorkshire fire crews

Firefighters across South Yorkshire are urging people to put smoke alarm testing at the top of their Christmas preparation list, as the big day draws closer.

The plea comes following several examples in recent weeks, from right across the country, where working smoke alarms have saved lives, pets and homes from serious harm.

With everyone busy buying gifts, putting up decorations and making plans, officers are hoping people will be able to find 60 seconds to test their alarms.

They are also urging people to sign up for smoke alarm testing reminders, provided by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) for free, at pressthebutton.co.uk.

“We’ve long urged people to ensure they have working smoke alarms on every level of their home, but we know everyone is busy, and sometimes these things get forgotten,” said Station Manager Steve Jones, who works in the SYFR prevention team.

“However, given most people will be making time for their Christmas preparation over the coming weeks, we’re hoping that they may be able to squeeze in the time to test their alarms, and sign up for our regular testing reminders.

“They really are life-saving devices and we’ve seen countless examples in recent months and years of how getting early warning of a fire can save your life.

“Beyond that, working smoke alarms can also save your home. Early warning of a fire doesn’t just mean you can get out early, it means the fire can be dealt with quicker.

“Even relatively small fires can cause smoke damage that renders your home uninhabitable and, ultimately, cause you a world of pain dealing with insurance issues.”

The service will be running this latest campaign – Press The Button – throughout December. Officers hope to see a steep increase in the amount of people signing up for the weekly or monthly testing reminders.

Last year it was revealed that in 49 percent of the house fires attended by South Yorkshire crews in 2019, there were no working smoke alarms present.

At the same time, local mum Rachael Shaw, from Parsons Cross in Sheffield, issued her own smoke alarm plea – after her house was destroyed by fire earlier in the year.

“If it wasn’t for the smoke alarm, realistically we would never have known the house was on fire. We never thought they were that important and yet they literally saved our lives,” she said at the time.

The service is also offering a range of other fire safety advice as Christmas Day draws closer and closer:

  • On electrics, ensure products are genuine and bought from reputable suppliers
  • On candles, make sure they are kept away from things like curtains and decorations
  • On cooking, never cook drunk and always ‘stand by your pan’

More information on fire safety over the Christmas period can be found on the service’s website, www.syfire.gov.uk.

Service launches September recruitment drive

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is once again calling for people in Askern, Rossington, Stocksbridge, Dearne, Birley and Cudworth to join their on-call firefighting teams.

Despite two hugely successful recruitment campaigns in the last year, there are still some spaces at each of the above stations that the service would like to fill.

On-call firefighters play a vital role in crewing fire stations right across the county. Trained to the same high standards as full-time firefighters, they attend all types of incidents and contribute towards the service’s prevention work within the community.

Anyone interested is urged to register their interest on the service’s website, here. The service will then contact each individual directly with regards to the next steps.

On-call firefighters are paid for their training, for being on-call and for each incident they attend – but they must live or work within a five minute drive of their closest fire station.

“On-call firefighters are ordinary people who do an extraordinary job. The commitment they make to their communities is something that words can’t describe,” said SYFR Station Manager Chris Tyler, who oversees the service’s on-call fire stations.

“This latest recruitment drive provides another opportunity for people in these six areas to fulfil the childhood dream of so many people and our message is clear – if you want to do it, get in touch, and we’ll do what we can to make the dream a reality.

“There’s loads of information on what it takes to be an on-call firefighter, what the job related tests involve and what the job involves, on our website – I’d definitely recommend having a read of the content there if you’re interested.”

For more information on the role of an on-call firefighter, visit the service’s website here.

Arson numbers down as service hones in on fire-setting

South Yorkshire’s firefighters have responded to less deliberate fires so far this summer than in recent years, according to figures released by the county’s fire service.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) says it has attended 997 deliberate fire incidents across May, June and July this year – a seven percent reduction compared to the 1,073 attended during the same period last year.

Against the average for May, June and July across the last three years – which stands at 1,404 incidents – the reduction is actually 29 percent.

However, with several weeks left of the school holidays, a period which often sees an increase in fire service call outs, officers are still calling on the public to be vigilant.

In particular, SYFR is urging people to report anything they know about deliberate fire-setting via their FireStoppers service – which was launched earlier this year.

Much like its sister, Crimestoppers, all reports that go into FireStoppers are totally anonymous. Residents simply need to call 0800 169 5558 or visit firestoppersreport.co.uk.

“This may come as a surprise to some, but deliberate fires are amongst the most common types of incident that our firefighters attend, yet they are often entirely needless,” said Group Manager Matt Gillatt, deputy head of the joint police and fire community safety team.

“We put lots of effort in to trying to stamp out arson attacks and it is great to see that what we are doing – a combination of our new FireStoppers service and work from our community safety staff and operational crews – is having the desired effect in reducing incident numbers.

“However, there is always more work to do, and one deliberate fire is one too many. The summer is not over yet and this can be a really busy time for us, especially when the weather hots up.

“Deliberate fire-setting not only endangers life and wastes our time, it can also massively destroy local parks, facilities and landscapes, so I would really encourage people to keep using our FireStoppers service to help us help you.”

You can report information about deliberate fire-setting to FireStoppers, totally anonymously, by calling 0800 169 5558 or visiting firestoppersreport.co.uk.

As well as cracking down on arson, fire officers are also asking people to be extremely careful when visiting the moors, when using disposable BBQs and when around open water.

“All of these things are a big focus for us. Our ask, in each three instances, is simple – please just be careful and treat your surroundings with respect,” added Matt.

“Don’t use disposable BBQs and leave litter on the moors or in tinder dry areas, and never jump in to open water – only ever swim outdoors if you know what you are doing.”

New Barnsley fire station goes operational

Firefighters have begun responding to 999 calls from South Yorkshire’s newest fire station for the first time.

The new two storey, three bay Barnsley fire station was completed earlier this month and went operational yesterday (Tuesday 17 August).

The energy efficient building on Broadway, Kingstone replaces the 60-year-old fire station on the same site which had reached the end of its operational life.

Firefighters had been housed in a temporary facility off-site whilst the year-long construction of the new station was completed.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Tony Carlin, said: “This is a really special day, as the new station has been several years in the planning and represents part of our vision to provide all our firefighters with modern, comfortable and energy efficient spaces in which to live and work.

“The new station has been completed to a very high specification and with the wishes of the firefighters who will work there taken into account at every stage. It has been paid for using money set aside from the Authority’s reserves and we expect it to provide an outstanding service to the people of Barnsley for many years to come.”

An existing unused building adjacent to the fire station will be re-purposed and upgraded to host the service’s award-winning Princes Trust Team Programme initiative as well as providing space to hold events and meetings and bookings from community groups.

Energy saving measures at the new fire station include low energy, LED lighting with motion sensors and an air source heat pump.

The investment forms part of a wider, short to medium term approved plan to invest in the fire service’s property estate, with around £8 million being set aside from its reserves to modernise and improve its estate.

Bond Bryan acted as architects for the project, with JF Finnegans acting as contractors.

South Yorkshire firefighters join mammoth ride in bid to raise vital charity cash

Two South Yorkshire firefighters are amongst a 20 strong team bidding to cycle the length of the UK to raise mental health awareness and thousands for charity.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Mark Peart and Paul Simmonite are joining firefighting colleagues from Suffolk for the 10 day, 1,000 mile ride from Lands End to John O’Groats in September.

The team are aiming to raise £50,000 for The Fire Fighters Charity, which supports the mental, physical and social needs of all serving and retired members of the UK’s fire family.

Paul has been a firefighter for 29 years and is currently based at Aston Park fire station. He said: “I’ve worked at stations across South Yorkshire and seen things that most people will thankfully never see, but due to the nature of the family feel of the fire and rescue service there has always been support available to me.

“I know The Fire Fighters Charity provides lots of mental health support though, so raising for them was something I really wanted to do.

“After meeting up and spending a day cycling with the group from Suffolk, I was honoured and privileged when they contacted me and asked me to join the team on this epic adventure. It’s been on my bucket list for years to ride the length of the UK, so I jumped at the chance.

“To be able to challenge myself with the mental and physical aspects of this adventure and knowing others will benefit from the team’s efforts is really inspiring.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Kirby, said: “Mark and Paul have the support of the whole fire service behind them. Not only are they raising money for a charity which does so much for serving and retired fire service staff and their families, they are also raising much needed awareness of the mental health issues which many emergency service workers face.

“I’ll be joining the team for part of the ride- but the scale of the full challenge is absolutely enormous and I’d encourage people to dig deep and donate to help inspire them to complete this incredible feat.”

The team begin their mammoth ride on Monday 20 September, stopping at eight fire stations across the UK along the way.

To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/team/longestride