Fire Service apprentice secures full time role

A former apprentice turned fire service employee has hailed the strength of the organisation’s apprenticeship scheme after it helped build her skills and experience to land a full time role.

In April 2016, Ellie Bolton became an apprentice in the Business Fire Safety department at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR), assisting and supporting Fire Safety Inspecting Officers, Ellie soon became a valued member of the team.  It was here that she gained the skills and experience required to further her career in the Fire Service.

Two years later as the apprenticeship was coming to an end, a full time vacancy became available in the Data Management section and her drive and determination spurred her on to apply for the post of Data Administrator.  Ellie was successful and became a member of staff in March 2018.

Ellie said; “Without the apprenticeship I would not have developed the skills and confidence that secured me this role. The apprenticeship has changed my life and has benefited me in many ways and I would recommend it to anyone.”

Amy Jenkinson, Business Fire Safety Manager at SYFR said; “Ellie is a fantastic example of how apprenticeships can help individuals further their careers. Ellie has gone from strength to strength and the knowledge and skills she acquired during her time as an apprentice was a large factor in her gaining employment within the service.  We are all really proud of her and wish her all the best in her future career.”

Any future apprenticeship opportunities will be advertised on the jobs page of our website.

Firefighters test response to large emergency with realistic live exercise

South Yorkshire’s fire crews have taken part in a realistic training exercise to test their response in the event of a major incident.

The exercise took place at the Fly DSA Arena in Sheffield with 10 fire crews from Parkway, Elm Lane, Central, Rotherham, Birley Moor, Tankersley and Thorne fire stations last week.  It tested South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s operational response to a chemical incident.

The scenario involved a number of people being exposed to a chemical. The exercise included around 40 volunteers from the fire and police service’s Prince’s Trust Team Programme and students from the public services course at Barnsley College who all acted as casualties.

Station Manager Nicholas Abbott, said: “Our firefighters are ready to respond to a huge number of different incident types, from fires to road traffic collisions. We issue lots of guidance to our crews about the different sorts of scenarios they might come across in the line of duty, but really the best way of preparing our response is to test it out for real.

“We’re extremely grateful to Fly DSA Arena for making the exercise as realistic as possible and providing some vital technical input on the day.

This recent exercise formed part of an ongoing aim at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue to continually improve emergency response procedures to incidents that aren’t just fires.

Fire safety advice after house fire death inquest

The fire service has issued a fire safety warning of the dangers of over-heating wheat bags, following an inquest into the death of a man in his 70’s at his home in Rotherham.

Firefighters from Doncaster and Maltby were called to the incident on Glaisdale Close at 12:01pm on Sunday 12 November. Upon arrival at this incident, it was apparent that there had been a slow burning fire which was already extinguished when fire crews arrived. Firefighters gained access to the property via the front door and discovered the body in the front room of the bungalow.

Fire investigators found a wheat bag that had been overheated to have been the cause of the fire.

The coroner, Louise Slater recorded a verdict of accidental death at yesterday’s inquest.

Station Manager Simon Rodgers, who investigated the cause of the fire, said: “No one deserves to die in these circumstances and ultimately any house fire death is preventable, regardless of any other factors which may have contributed to that person’s death.

“To ensure that microwavable heat bags are used safely, users should always ensure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, as these bags can become too hot if heated for longer than recommended.

“We want to again call on our partners in the health, housing and social care sectors to do more to help us identify those who are most at risk of fire, so that we can put extra measures in place to help prevent fatal fires.”

Safety advice for preventing fires caused by wheat bags includes:

  • Only purchase a wheat bag that comes with clear manufacturer instructions
  • Always follow manufacturer’s instructions and never heat the bag for longer than recommended
  • If you know an elderly person who uses a wheat bag, explain the manufacturer’s instructions to them
  • Leave wheat bags to cool in a safe area and don’t use one in a confined space such as under bedding

South Yorkshire firefighters support local smokers in quitting campaign

Adwick fire station is to play host to a series of Stop Smoking Services to help Doncaster residents quit the habit.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) is working in partnership with South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust, to provide a meeting group once a week at Adwick station to help support residents who feel that the time has come to take that step to a healthier lifestyle.

The Stop Smoking sessions offer a wide range of support which is able to aid all sorts of smokers, even those who have been smoking for long periods of time and may think that they wouldn’t be able to give up. Smokers who seek help have a much greater chance of success than those who do not.

The sessions. take place every Tuesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm. If you would like to attend the next Stop Smoking group at Adwick fire station, please call 0800 612 0011 (free on landline) or 0330 660 1166 (free on mobile).

Steve Helps, Head of Prevention and Protection at SYFR said; “Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable disease and premature deaths in the UK. It is also a major cause of accidental death, injury and property damage from house fires attributed to smoking in the UK every year. This initiative is a positive step towards keeping the people of South Yorkshire healthier and safer in their own homes.”

Mark Falcomer at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said; “Yorkshire Smokefree provides expert NHS advice and support for anyone who wants to stop smoking. So when you’re ready to quit, we’re ready to help. Our friendly experts will help you find the best way to quit and provide support throughout your journey, so you’re smoke-free in no time.

“We offer a range of resources to suit your needs and ensure you’re smoke-free as soon as possible.

“You are five times more likely to quit smoking with products and support which are available for free with Yorkshire Smokefree Doncaster. Products include patches, gum, lozenges inhalator, mouth spray and champix.”

SYFR is one of the signatories of the Yorkshire and Humber Emergency Services Prevention and Early Intervention Consensus Statement, which has been co-ordinated by Public Health England.

With demand for health and social care rising, the main focus of the agreement is for emergency services to use their joint intelligence, skills and resources to support communities with ill-health prevention and early intervention where problems are identified.

This includes greater sharing and development of referral pathways into key services such as falls prevention and support for mental health, alcohol and drug problems, advice to keep homes warm and social support to combat loneliness and isolation.

Fire stations to host blood donation sessions

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) has teamed up with NHS Blood and Transplant to provide venues for local communities to attend blood donation sessions.

The first session took place at Doncaster fire station last week which proved to be a popular venue for the lifesaving sessions.

The fire station’s appliance bay was temporarily adapted while the sessions took place, with health screening areas and a number of beds in place so that NHS Blood and Transplant staff could welcome donors and perform blood donation procedures. The fire engines were parked on a different part of the site during the session but the crew was still available to attend incidents as usual.

Station Manager Claire Duke, who has been working on this project, said: “We hope that the sessions at Doncaster station will be the first of many we can provide for the NHS Blood and Transplant who are always on the lookout for new venues across the county. We are already planning more sessions at other fire stations in South Yorkshire in the near future.”

Chief Nurse and Assistant Director of Blood Donation Jane Green emphasised the value of the project: “We are extremely grateful to South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue for allowing us to use their Fire Stations for blood donation sessions free of charge. This initiative goes a long way to reduce our venue hire cost which in turn means that we can continue providing blood products to hospitals at sustainable cost. Fire Stations are also at the heart of the communities and easily accessible for our donors which enhances their donation experience.”

A number of future sessions are planned at Doncaster fire station on:

17 April 2018
10 July 2018
03 August 2018

All will run from 11am – 7:30pm

If you are interested in attending one of these sessions please register and book your appointment by visiting www.blood.co.uk website or alternatively call 0300 123 2323.

Press to test. Monthly is best

South Yorkshire fire officers are backing a national campaign to get more people to test their smoke alarms. 

The campaign, which will run from 12 March to 6 April 2018, will remind people that having working smoke alarms can save their life in the event of a fire in the home, and will encourage people to test their smoke alarms now and then regularly on a monthly basis. Messages will be promoted on the radio, online and on social media platforms.

As part of the national advertising campaign, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is encouraging people in South Yorkshire to test the smoke alarms in their home (and those vulnerable friends/relatives), and if not yet done, purchase and install smoke alarms at every level of the home.

Smoke alarms can give someone the few extra seconds they need to escape in a fire. While the majority of homes across the country now have an alarm fitted, most people are not aware that the average alarm has a lifespan of just ten years and then needs replacing.

A single smoke alarm may simply not be enough. The recommendation is at least one at every level, but to ensure you can hear them throughout your home, particularly when asleep.  Last year, in nearly half of all fires in the home where the smoke alarm did not give a warning the reason was that the alarm was not close enough to detect the fire.  Missing or flat batteries were another major cause.

Steve Helps, Head of Prevention and Protection said; “We know that smoke alarms saves lives. Analysis suggests you are at least eight times more likely to die in a fire in the home if you do not have any working smoke alarms”.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is asking people to make sure that their alarms are up to date and up to the job.

To keep your alarms in working order:

  • Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home;
  • Test your smoke alarms by pushing the button every month;
  • Check that your smoke alarms are less than 10 years old;
  • Fit smoke alarms on landings and hallways and near or in bedrooms.  Also consider in rooms which have electrical appliances – e.g. a heater or charger – or other fire risks;
  • Don’t put alarms in or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident.
  • Replace your smoke alarms every ten years
  • Take a moment to check on your loved ones who may need help to test their smoke alarms to ensure they’re fully protected.

Steve Helps said; “For most of us, there is nothing more important than keeping our loved ones safe and secure. So if your alarm is getting past its best or your top floor is missing an alarm of its own, fit new ones, test them on the first of every month and protect your loved ones at all times”

“Press to test, monthly is best”

Charity car wash events during March

Firefighters across South Yorkshire will be washing cars throughout March as part of a national charity event.

The event is aimed at raising money for The Fire Fighter’s Charity, which supports injured firefighters and their families.

As well as washing cars, firefighters will also be on hand to offer road and fire safety advice.

A number of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s fire stations are taking part in the annual event as listed below:

  • Lowedges station – Saturday 24 March 10am-1pm (Lowedges Road, Sheffield, S8 7JN)
  • Adwick station – Saturday 24 March 2pm-6pm (Quarry Lane, Woodlands, Doncaster, DN6 7RT)
  • Tankersley station – Saturday 24 March 10am onwards (Maple Road, Wentworth Industrial Estate, Barnsley, S75 3DL)
  • Penistone station – Saturday 24 March 10am onwards (Sheffield Road, Penistone, Barnsley, S36 6HN)
  • Rivelin station – Saturday 31 March 12 – 5pm (Rivelin Valley Road, Sheffield, S6 5FE)
  • Aston station – Saturday 31 March 10am onwards (Worksop Road, Aston, Rotherham, S26 2FZ)
  • Dearne station – Saturday 31 March 12pm onwards (Manvers Way, Rotherham, S63 5DN)
  • Rotherham station – Saturday 31 March 10am – 4pm (Fitzwilliam Road, Eastwood, Rotherham, S65 1ST)

Young people honoured by Royal visit

Dearne fire station had a very special visit last week when His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales met with young people on the Prince’s Trust Team Programme.

As part of the visit, His Royal Highness, President of the Prince’s Trust met with young people, took part in a discussion group with former course members and witnessed a role play scenario carried out by Team members with the help of fire station staff.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) and South Yorkshire Police (SYP) teamed up to deliver the Prince’s Trust Team Programme. It is a 12 week personal development course for unemployed 16 – 25 year olds, offering work experience, qualifications, practical skills, community projects and a residential week.

The event was also attended by local dignitaries and friends and family of the young people.

SYFR Station Manager Spencer Rowland said; “It was a great honour to welcome The Prince of Wales to Dearne fire station and to be given the chance for the young people to demonstrate how far they have come on the Team Programme. It will be a day the young people cherish for the rest of their lives.”

Would you like to be part of the next Team Programme?  We are recruiting for the members of the Rotherham Barnsley and Sheffield programmes, to be part of the Team or for further details contact John Daley on 07769 887249 or princestrust@syfire.gov.uk.

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Success for anti-social behaviour project

A group of young people in Rotherham have taken part in a ‘passing out’ event, after completing a five day course aimed at reducing anti-social behaviour in the city.

The event took place last week at Rotherham fire station and saw the young people carrying out a display in the station drill yard to start off the presentation.

The group of nine, aged 13-16, took part in the Achieving Respect and Confidence (ARC) project, a joint initiative between South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, South Yorkshire Police and other partner agencies.

The course, which mixes practical training with some classroom-based learning, is aimed at young people who have offended, are at risk of offending or have been victims of crime.

The project aims to highlight the consequences of antisocial behaviour and to improve self-discipline, team spirit, fire safety awareness, life skills and values which will improve the life chances of the young people involved.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Simon Brookes, Community Safety Watch Manager said:  “The course helps the young people not just in terms of teaching them firefighting skills and techniques, but also by showing them the value of things like teamwork, discipline and communication.

“We encourage them to think about their behaviour and to make positive choices towards improving their life chances.”

Firefighters rescue old supplies to provide animal fun

Fire fighters have rescued old supplies to provide fun for animals at the award-winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

Hoses, ropes and equipment that were broken or out of date have been ingeniously recycled to create a range of stimulating toys for the animal enclosures.

They have been turned into balls, swings, huts and more to help enrich the animals’ time at the 100-acre innovative park at Branton, near Doncaster.

“The animals will get a lot of enjoyment from the generosity of the Fire Brigade,” said the park’s deputy animal manager Rick Newton.

“We have made our Rhinos a Fire Hose Ball to play with out of the hoses given to us. They are having a great time running around playing with it”

The fire fighters from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s Rossington station were invited to the park to see how their old specialized equipment has been put to use.

“The staff at the park do a fantastic job and we were only too pleased to help out by donating the old hoses, ropes and other equipment for the animals to play with or for their enclosures,” said station manager Shayne Tottie.

“The equipment donated is all stock which is either old, broken or out of date which we are no longer able to use and would otherwise have been thrown away, so when the Park approached us for our help we gladly offered to recycle the equipment.

“The fire crew had a lovely time being shown around the park and meeting all the amazing staff and animals who will hopefully benefit from the equipment.“

The park is home to the Black Rhinos Hodan and Dayo who reside on YWP’s newly extended African Plains and the country’s only polar bears at Project Polar, a ten-acre reserve with caves, natural pools and rolling terrain.

YWP, the no1 walk-through wildlife attraction in the UK, offers families an entertaining, fun filled and educational day out.

Visitors come almost face to face with some of the world’s rarest and beautiful species, including Amur Leopards and Tigers, Lions, Painted Hunting Dogs,
Giant Otters, Guinea Baboons, Meerkats, and many more.