South Yorkshire firefighter saves life of Leicester City football fan

An off-duty South Yorkshire firefighter has helped to save the life of a football fan during Leicester City’s Champions’ League triumph over Sevilla this week.

Caz Whiteman, a South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) firefighter currently based at the service’s training centre, was in the crowd for the match at Leicester’s King Power Stadium on Tuesday night when a fellow spectator collapsed with a suspected heart attack.

Caz, who was sat nearby, immediately rushed to support pitch side first aiders and deliver cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for more than 15 minutes until he was taken to hospital by ambulance. The man, who has three children, is now making a full recovery.

Caz said: “My seats were just three rows from the front of the pitch and just as the teams were starting to come out for the second half, I noticed that a spectator was in difficulty. I came down to the front of the pitch to see what I could do to help and it became clear he had suffered a heart attack and gone into cardiac arrest. Along with the pitch side medics, I cleared his airway and immediately performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions.

“This is where the skills I’ve picked up from my day job really came into their own. Firefighters already have the skills and knowledge to provide effective first responder care in emergency situations, particularly at incidents were we may arrive on scene before paramedics. My actions were a natural, instinctive reaction to the situation in front of me. Anyone with the right skills and training would have done the same thing. But I’m just so relieved that he has made it and I wish him well for a full recovery.”

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden, said: “I already know that we employ an incredible selection of individuals who perform brilliantly, day in, day out, to keep our communities safe. But Caz’s brilliant quick thinking and life saving actions really did go above and beyond the call of duty and highlight that, in some ways, a firefighter is never ‘off duty’. The skills and training we give our crews stay with them for life, which this inspiring, life saving story confirms.”

Prince’s Trust team transforms Barnsley theatre

A team of young people taking part in a major local youth development programme have unveiled their hard work and transformation of a community theatre.

The group, who are taking part in the Prince’s Trust Team Programme have spent the last week tidying, cleaning and decorating the changing room and corridor area at the Dearne Playhouse on Washington Street in Goldthorpe.

The Prince’s Trust Team Programme is being delivered by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police from Barnsley fire station. Team Programme is a 12 week course for unemployed 16 to 25 year olds, offering work experience, qualifications, practical training and a residential development week.

The programme encourages the young people to nominate their own community project, with those on the current scheme choosing to transform this well loved community theatre for the local people.  The backstage area has now been brightened up and is a calming place for the thousands of young children and adults using the theatres facilities each year.

The group were able to fund the transformation after raising cash from a raffle and a bag pack at Asda the week before.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Team Leader Rhian Oxley said: “Team Programme is about more than simply boosting young people’s employment skills. It gives them hope, confidence and the opportunity to make a difference.

“The community project the young people have been involved in is the perfect proof of that aspiration and we hope the sense of achievement it gives them will give them the self-belief which they can transfer to their future lives.”

Young people launch fire service funded film to tackle anti-social behaviour

A fire service funded film project is helping to tackle anti-social behaviour in South Yorkshire.

The Salvation Army, in partnership with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) and South Yorkshire Police (SYP), has been working with a group of young people from Aston Academy, Handsworth Grange Community Sports College and Outwood Academy City to create the film called ‘The Power of Pressure’. A series of workshops were designed to give them the skills and confidence to explore how making the wrong decisions can affect the lives of young people and their families and then supporte the group in putting this difficult subject to film.

The project and film aims to reduce the levels of anti-social behaviour and protect the most vulnerable people, as well as educating young people on drugs and alcohol. It is hoped that schools and colleges will use the film to start discussions around the topics addressed.

The film has this week been launched at an Oscar themed night at the SYFR’s Training and Development Centre, to an audience including the Lord Mayor of Sheffield Councillor Denise Fox and Fire Authority Members along with family and friends.

The Salvation Army were awarded £5,910 for the project under the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s funding scheme, Stronger Safer Communities Reserve.

The fund saw dozens of registered charities, community organisations and partner agencies come forward and apply for grants from the £2 million fund, which had been set aside from the Authority’s reserves. Groups were able to bid for as little as £5,000 or as much as £150,000 to support projects which reduce injuries, save lives and make South Yorkshire safer.

SYFR Head of Prevention & Protection Steve Helps said: “Anti social behaviour can put a big strain on local communities, so preventative measures are becoming more important than ever.  This film will be a great tool to educate and inspire young people to make the correct life choices.”

Lord Mayor of Sheffield Councillor Denise Fox said; “‘This project has been a real example of partnership in action between South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, South Yorkshire Police and the Salvation Army. The young people have been supported to make this film, and I would like to congratulate them for their hard work and commitment.

“They will be an inspiration to their friends and family, highlighting important life lessons about making the right choices, and the consequences of making the wrong choices.”

Housing providers given extra time to bid for fire service sprinkler funding

South Yorkshire housing providers are being given extra time to access fire service funding to support the installation of sprinklers in high-risk homes.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) attends dozens of serious house fires every year in social housing and sheltered accommodation.

To help tackle the problem and increase the number of sprinkler systems fitted across the county, earlier this year SYFR launched a  £1 million fund to encourage more housing providers to install them in buildings lived in by those residents most at risk from fire.

Head of prevention and protection Steve Helps, said: “We’re pleased that several organisations have already come forward to take advantage of this scheme, but we have also listened to feedback from other potential partners who have requested more time to scope and research appropriate funding bids.

“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 problems or people with dementia who may not know how to react, or be able to react quickly enough, if they hear a smoke alarm.”

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.

For more information on how to submit a funding bid contact bfsadmin@syfire.gov.uk

Award win for firefighters clean up

Firefighters have been given an award of recognition for their help with cleaning up a Sheffield skate park.

The fire crew from Tankersley White Watch came to the rescue of the local community after the new Angram Bank skate park in High Green was left vandalised last November.

The skate park had been due to be opened that day, but was deliberately targeted by vandals who left washing up liquid covering the area.

The crew members Wayne Severn, Matthew Craig, Alan Barraclough and Dave Rogers set straight to work washing, scrubbing and rinsing the washing up liquid away.

As a way of thanking the fire crew for their assistance the Parish Council has now awarded the crew The Chairman’s Award in recognition for their hard work and community spirit.

Crew Manager Matthew Craig said; “The park was due to be opened that day, we did what we did to enable the opening ceremony to still go ahead for the local people.  We are really honoured to have been chosen for this award and are very pleased that we were able to help out.”

Fire Cadet to compete in Junior Olympics

A South Yorkshire Fire Cadet will be representing Team GB under 16’s Inline Puck Hockey Squad in America this summer.

Evan Coles, a Fire Cadet at Stocksbridge fire station is hoping to be in Los Angeles this July at the AAU Junior Olympics. It will last for eight days, and the team will take part in a minimum of ten games in two competitions (International and Club tournaments).

Fire Cadets learn firefighting skills and techniques from specially qualified instructors to develop practical, life and communication skills.  It also encourages young people to be part of a team and to enhance their physical and mental capabilities, skills which Evan will need to take up this fantastic opportunity.

Evan said; “The Great Britain team is made up of players from all four of the home nations, to be asked to represent my Country is a real honour and something that all sports people strive for during their lifetime.  It comes at a cost though, as I need to raise £1,500 to cover my equipment and travel.”

Youth Engagement Officer Nicola Hobbs said; “This is the chance of a lifetime for Evan, we are all really proud of him here at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.  He has been a fire cadet for nearly three years and has grown in confidence over this time. He is a well respected and dedicated member of the Stocksbridge Fire Cadet team.  We will all be routing for him this summer and wish him all the best.”

If you would like to become a Fire Cadet and would like to learn new skills and support the fire service’s work in the local community please get in touch.

For more information, email Nicola Hobbs at nhobbs@syfire.gov.uk.

Can you help make Evan’s dream come true by giving a small donation towards his trip – click here for Evans justgiving page.

Fire engine blocked by parked cars

Firefighters are pleading with drivers not to block access to narrow streets by parking on both sides of the road after a fire engine was left unable to reach an emergency.

Fire crews were called out to Roebuck Road in Sheffield during the evening of Saturday 28 January to reports of a laundry fire at a nursing home.

The crew from Rivelin station however was unable to reach the incident due to parked cars blocking their way.

Instead, a fire engine from Central station had to attend via another route, but lost valuable minutes in reaching the incident.  Luckily no one was injured in the fire.

We are urging residents to think about their parking as they could be putting the lives of their families, friends and neighbours at risk.

Area Manager Tony Carlin, Head of Emergency Response said; “Bad parking is a real problem for firefighters. Fire engines require a gap of almost 3 meters to get through. We appreciate that people like to park as close to their property as possible, but please think could a fire engine or other emergency vehicle get through the gap.  With every second counting when attending a fire or road crash it is vital that they can get down streets quickly and safely.”

Celebrate safely this Chinese New Year

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue wises everyone taking part in Chinese New Year festivities a happy and safe celebration.

Chinese New Year (28 January 2017) is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar.  For many it’s a time to celebrate the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one.

With more people at home – cooking while entertaining or relaxing with family or friends, the risk of fire increases.  People are more likely to be distracted during this time of year and therefore more vulnerable to fire.

Safety tips:

  • Most fires start in the kitchen – never leave cooking unattended. When cooking deep-fried food, never fill the pan more than one-third full of oil. Never throw water over the pan.
  • Keep candles out of reach of children and animals – children should be supervised at all times near flames. Keep flames from candles at a safe distance from curtains, furniture and decorations.
  • Treat fireworks with caution – only buy fireworks marked with British Safety Standard 7114 and always read the instructions.
  • We would encourage you not to use flying lanterns -but if you do use them, please always read the manufacturers instructions before use.
  • Avoid overloading electrical sockets – try to remember, one plug – one socket. If you must have more plugs connected always use a fused adaptor.

Victor-y for polar bear helped by firefighters

A health check-up for the country’s oldest and most popular polar bear has been carried out with military precision.

Victor, a visitors’ favourite at the award-winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park, was in the care of a 30-strong team for a procedure that took more than a month to plan.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue helped lift the 18-year-old, who weighs in at 530kg, into position for a team of specialist vets and dentists to conduct a battery of tests during the appointment.

Victor was anaesthetised for two hours but was back on his feet within half an hour in a successful operation to ensure he was in tip-top condition.

“At YWP we have very high animal welfare standards. We could see that one of Victor’s canine teeth looked a slightly different colour to the rest of his teeth so we wanted to investigate and it was an opportunity to give him a full MOT.  To bring all the specialists together took a month to plan. We are delighted that it all went very well, thanks to the efforts of a dedicated team,” said Simon Marsh, Animals Collections Manager at the park, at Branton, near Doncaster.

“Victor was very relaxed and was quickly back to his old self after the two-hour procedure.”

“He has made a full recovery from the experience and initial findings are that he is very well for an 18-year-old bear. We are waiting on the test results from the samples we took from him but we are all happy that Victor is a happy and healthy polar bear.”

The operation began a month ago with the YWP Animal Team, Portland House Veterinary Group (based in Retford), IZVG (International Zoo Veterinary Group based in Keighley) and Zoodent, a specialist animal dentist (based in London) , drawing up a strategy for the first time a polar bear had been anaesthetized at the 100-acre park.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue whose firefighters are trained in using specialist animal rescue equipment was called in for extensive planning on how to move Victor for the vet team to carry out their checks.

The day started at 8.30 am with the veterinary team setting up their kit and the fire service assembling lifting gear.

“Timing was critical as we only had a small window to get Victor moved and in position to allow the vets to get him connected to the anaesthetic machine,” added Mr Marsh.

“Also with over 30 people involved and working in the relatively small area of Victor’s den, we had to make sure people move in and out at the precise time they were needed.”

Kim Wilkins, YWP’s Carnivore Team Leader and Andrew Greenwood, from IZVG, administered the anaesthetic injection to Victor who had been gradually familiarised with the technique so he was relaxed.

“For Victor to be relaxed and trusting enough for us to inject him took months of animal training. Veterinary procedures are out of the ordinary for animals and by keeping Victor calm, it made it safer for him whilst under the anaesthetic” said Ms Wilkins.

Park rangers and the fire service team placed Victor onto a cargo net and lifted him into place.

Specialist dentist Peter Kertesz, of Zoodent, and the veterinary team carried out extensive tests that were completed in under two hours.

“Although we had prepared as much as we could we had no idea how it would go, and if it was even going to be possible, but with excellent team work we quickly and smoothly managed to move Victor,” said Mr Marsh.

“Once he was in positon, the Fire Service moved out and the dentist and vets moved back in to carry out a comprehensive health check, looking at his 42 teeth, joints, feet and claws. We took x-rays, blood samples and swabs for a battery of tests to make sure Victor is in tip top condition.”

“As soon as the vets and dentist had finished their procedures, the Fire Service moved back in and helped the Rangers move Victor back and we could start his recovery. He was back on his feet within half an hour. He was under the anaesthetic for no more than 2 hours and the whole event from start to finish lasted 5 hours”.

“It was handled very professionally and efficiently and YWP is thankful for the expertise and care of the team and would particularly thank South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue for their help.”

Fire Station Manager, Dave Scully said: “This was certainly an unprecedented request for South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.

“Whilst we wouldn’t routinely use our services in this way, we recognised Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s need for support during this complex operation due to the size of the animal. It meant Victor was able to receive the necessary medical treatment whilst allowing our crews the opportunity to test their skills using specialist animal rescue equipment. A happy ending for all involved!”

The team:

5 Vets
1 Vet Nurse
1 Zoo Dentist
1 Zoo Dental Nurse
11 Firefighters
11 YWP Rangers and Staff

Victor is now happily back out in Project Polar at the Park with the other polar bears, Pixel, Nissan and Nobby.

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Recruiting now for life changing Prince’s Trust course

Fire and police in South Yorkshire are teaming up to deliver two Princes Trust courses to be jointly run by both 999 services.

The two emergency services are calling on young people to sign up for the Princes Trust Team Programme, with the two courses running in January and February 2017.

Team Programme is a 12 week personal development course for unemployed 16 to 25 year olds, offering work experience, qualifications, practical skills, community projects and a residential week.

Individuals will gain new skills and qualifications, mix with new people and make new friends, get help with job-hunting and CV writing and most importantly a big boost to their confidence and a real sense of achievement.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Team Leader John Daley said; “We are really excited by the prospect of the joint course and what we will be able to deliver to the young people taking part. The course will include team building exercises, work placements, CV writing and loads more, which will give them a real sense of purpose and achievement.”

South Yorkshire Police Deputy Team Leader Paul Hamshaw said; “This is a fantastic opportunity for young people who are out of education or employment to come and learn new skills, meet new friends, take part in an action packed residential trip and gain work experience, all completely free.

“This is a unique programme, during which you can gain an insight into the police and fire services. If you’re not completely sure if this is for you, give us a call and we can talk to you about what is expected – you won’t be disappointed with the programme.”

Devon Hazeldine, member of a previous SYFR Team Programme  and now working  as a volunteer and mentor on the Prince’s Trust Programme said; “This course has enabled me to build my confidence and gain new experiences. I have really enjoyed my time and would say to anybody who wants to learn about themselves, their community and get ahead in life the Prince’s Trust Team programme is worth getting on.”

To be part of the Team Programme or for further details contact Rhian Oxley on 07919 565122 or princestrust@syfire.gov.uk.