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Operation Dark Nights safety talks

Be bright, be seen, be safe ­­– that’s the message being delivered to primary school children in the run up to Bonfire Night.

Police Community Support Officers have been visiting schools across Rotherham to chat about personal safety as part of Operation Dark Nights.

The interactive sessions include a presentation, quiz and opportunity to talk through real-life scenarios with officers from both South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR).

As well as facts around the dangers of fireworks, young people are being taught the ‘stop, drop and roll’ technique, which helps to put out flames, as well as how to behave at an organised bonfire event.

Rotherham PS Sharon Phin, who has helped to organise the sessions, said: “We run this initiative every year because it is vital that we do everything we can to help keep children safe.

“Half of all accidents involving fireworks happen to children under the age of 16 so we target our presentations to those at risk.

“Officers talk to children about sparklers, appropriate bright and reflective clothing and the need to stay close to an adult at organised events.”

Young people are also given advice about when to call 999, the implications of hoax calls and the law around buying fireworks.

“We really want everyone to enjoy Bonfire Night,” added Gary Willoughby of SYFR. “We will continue to run our personal safety sessions to try to make sure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable time.”

Operation Dark Nights is a force-wide campaign providing important safety advice and reassurance to the public over the next four weeks.

For more information visit

Fire service safety advice ahead of Diwali

The fire service is calling on people in South Yorkshire to take extra care ahead of one of the most important periods in the religious calendar.

Firefighters are reminding people celebrating the Diwali festival (Wednesday 18 October) to take extra care with candles and cooking- both common causes of house fires.

Diwali is a bright and vibrant time with many families coming together to celebrate. But the increased use of candles, divas, tealights, fireworks and cooking of special meals can bring additional dangers.

By taking a few simple precautions, families can stay safe during the celebrations.

  • Always place divas/diyas, tea lights and candles on heat-resistant surfaces and well away from curtains and decorations.
  • Children and pets should be supervised at all times near flames.
  • Don’t let yourself get distracted – never leave cooking unattended.
  • If a pan with oil in it catches fire, don’t move it and don’t throw water over it. Get out of the kitchen, close the door behind you and call 999.
  • Ensure that all fireworks meet British safety standards, store them in a metal box, read the instructions, never go back to a lit firework and keep a bucket of water nearby.

Area Manager Steve Helps said: “We recognise this is a really important time for many people in South Yorkshire, but want to make sure people observe it safely. In particular, people should take extra care with candles, which we know are responsible for some of the most severe house fires we attend. Basic precautions like keeping candles away from flammable materials will help you and your loved ones to celebrate safely.”

Sheffield firefighters win top national challenge for third year in a row

A fire crew from Sheffield is celebrating after coming out on top in a national competition to test firefighters’ search and rescue skills in heat and smoke.

Central station were awarded first place in the UK finals of the Breathing Apparatus (BA) challenge- defending the title for a third year.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue firefighters competed against other fire crews from across the UK.

Each team tackled a series of scenarios involving the rescue of ‘casualties’ from inside smoke-filled buildings at the Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh.

In total four awards were won by South Yorkshire firefighters.

Judges at the competition named the Central crew overall winners after scoring firefighters in a number of different skill areas including BA search and rescue, Firefighting while in BA, pump operator, BA entry control officer and incident command.

Head of Service Delivery Support Stewart Nicholson, said; “We’re very proud that for the third year in a row a crew from South Yorkshire has taken first place in a national competition that was filled with ultra professional, highly-skilled firefighters.  The standard is always extremely high but is rising year on year, so for our crew to perform again to such a high standard on the national stage is a fantastic achievement.”

HOPE Charity launches next chapter at major Sheffield event

A South Yorkshire charity which has been helping people touched by trauma for more than a decade has officially launched.

HOPE has acted as a peer support network for people who have lost loved ones in fires, road traffic collisions or other tragedies since 2006.

Now it has achieved charitable status and it launched the latest chapter of its story in front of volunteers, beneficiaries and dignitaries including HM Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire and all four South Yorkshire Mayors.

The event, hosted at Irwin Mitchell’s headquarters at Riverside House, Sheffield, heard emotional stories from many of the people HOPE has supported.

HOPE Charity, which is supported by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, now wants to put its skills towards helping to prevent emergency incidents from happening in the first place.

It has already been commissioned to deliver road safety education packages to schools by the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership and its volunteers are beginning to carry out home safety checks on behalf of the fire service.

HOPE Charity’s Business Development Manager Mary-Ann Quinn, said: “This event marked an exciting new chapter in our history, as well as reflecting upon our achievements over the last decade and more. We will continue to provide the peer support which our members value so much, but also believe that achieving charity status will broaden the range of support and services we are able to deliver. It’s been a real team effort to get this far and long may it continue.”

Deputy Chief Fire Officer and HOPE trustee Martin Blunden, said: “There is a natural synergy between the work HOPE Charity has been doing over a number of years to support people touched by tragedy, and the work that we do as a fire and rescue service to prevent emergencies in the first place.

“We recently published plans which set out our vision for how we will make local people safer. The aspiration we set out was to spread our resources much further by working with other agencies to meet the growing demand for preventative interventions. We believe HOPE, and other charities and community organisations like them, will continue to be important partners of ours in delivering this aim.”

Irwin Mitchell: Joanne Witherington, solicitor at Irwin Mitchell said: “We are committed to supporting the valuable work of HOPE across South Yorkshire and we were incredibly proud to host their launch reception at our Sheffield office.  It was a wonderful event and hearing first-hand accounts of how the charity’s services have helped families at such a difficult time in their lives highlighted, even more greatly, the importance of HOPE’s work.”

Last year HOPE was given the Duke of York’s Community Initiative Award. This is a Royal award presented to community projects based in Yorkshire which are owned, developed and led by the people they serve.

To find out more about the charity, visit its new website created by Millgate Connect, at

Charity car wash events

Firefighters will be washing cars this Saturday 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.

The following stations are taking part in the annual event on Saturday 23 September.

THORNE – 9am – 2pm (Union Road, Thorne, Doncaster, DN8 5EL)
LOWEDGES – 11am – 4pm (Lowedges Road, Sheffield, S8 7JN)

Central – 10am to 3pm, Eyre Street, Sheffield
OFFICERS CAR WASH – 11am – 4pm (Lakeside Shopping Centre, Doncaster)
DEARNE – 10am – 2pm (Manvers Way, Rotherham, S63 5DN)
BIRLEY MOOR – 10am – 4pm (Moor Valley, Sheffield, S20 5FA)

Why not pop along to one of the above and get your car cleaned all in aid of The Fire Fighters charity.

Fire & Police recruiting for Prince’s Trust Team Programme

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) and South Yorkshire Police (SYP) have teamed up with the Prince’s Trust to deliver the Team Programme.

Two Team Programmes are due to start soon in Sheffield and Barnsley and we are recruiting now.

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

Individuals will gain new skills, mix with new people and make new friends, they will be given 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 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.”

SYFR Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “The 12 week course is all about building the confidence of the young people and equipping them with the skills qualifications and experience to find employment and build better lives for themselves. From classes in CV building to work placements we will be able to offer participants crucial skills and insights they otherwise will never experience. I am truly proud of the role the fire service is playing in helping these young people aspire to a better future.”

We are now recruiting for these Team Programme’s based in Barnsley and for the first time in Sheffield, to be part of it and to take that first step contact John Daley on 07769 887249 or

More details can be found on the South Yorkshire Police website here

Follow updates on Twitter at #PrincesTrust

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Fire service ‘chip pan’ campaign part of national award win double

A chart topping bid by firefighters has won a major national campaign award.

Central red watch and 999 operators at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue were part of a daring drive to reach the top of the Christmas charts with ‘Chip Pan’ by the Everly Pregnant Brothers.

The song was used as part of a wider campaign to cut house fires over Christmas and won the ‘Best Low Budget Campaign’ gong at the Public Sector Communication Awards.

Although the track didn’t reach the festive song summit, it helped raise awareness of kitchen fire safety amongst millions of people.

The associated campaign contributed to an 18 per cent drop in house fires in December and raised £4,311 for two charities- Age UK Sheffield and Shelter.

Highlights of the assault on the yuletide music chart included two national television appearances and more than five million views online for a video which accompanies the song. Leaders, businesses and celebrities from across Sheffield also threw in their support for the campaign.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden, said: “Both our staff and the South Yorkshire public really got behind this campaign. Although it was a bit of fun, albeit with a serious safety message at its heart, it raised such a lot of money for two great causes and also contributed to our biggest objective- making people safer by reducing house fires. I’m really pleased that this hard work has been recognised at a national level.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue also won the award for ‘Best Integrated Campaign’ for a campaign to curb electrical fires. Text message marketing, radio advertising and an interactive quiz combined to cut electrical house fires by a quarter last summer.

Firefighters graduate from South Yorkshire recruits course

The biggest batch of South Yorkshire firefighter recruits in eight years has successfully graduated following 13 weeks of intensive training.

The group of twelve full-time firefighters have completed their training with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and will now join crews at their respective fire stations around the county.

A passing out parade at the service’s Training & Development Centre was attended by family, friends and local dignitaries. It included demonstrations from the recruits who showcased the skills they have picked up over the last three months.

The course included an intensive period of safety critical learning which covered skills such as ladder and hose reel drills, road traffic collision extrication and breathing apparatus training.

The recruits then spent time on fire stations where they continued their development and attended real incidents, before spending time at the Lifewise Centre observing the contribution of the service’s award-winning community safety team and the work they do to prevent emergencies.

Chief Fire Officer James Courtney, said: “Well done to all of our recruits for what they have achieved. Having beaten off competition from literally hundreds of other applicants, they really are a credit to both themselves and their loved ones.

“The intensive course they have been on will prepare them for challenging yet rewarding future careers. But importantly, the training they’ve received also covers the broader aspects of a modern firefighter’s role, with our work to keep people safe and prevent emergencies every bit as important as the work we are most associated with- responding to 999 calls.”

The Chair of South Yorkshire Fire Authority Linda Burgess said; “The recruits have gone through rigorous training to incorporate the demands of the modern firefighter role as South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue continues to provide the best possible emergency service to the public. The financial pressures that fire services are under have been well documented, but by recruiting these individuals we have also shown that despite the challenges we face we remain committed to supporting our future.

“They have worked really hard and their achievements are well deserved. We wish them all the best for their future career.”

For more information on a career as a South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue firefighter, visit

Or to watch videos following the trainees on their recruits course, visit

Animal rescue charity benefits from fire service donation

Award winning staff members at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue have generously donated a cash prize to a local animal rescue charity, after receiving the money at an awards event.

Fire Community Safety Officers and the High Risk Coordination Team were presented with the prize at the Cutlers’ Company Police and Fire Service awards. The team members decided to donate their £250 award to Barnsley Animal Rescue, which provides care and shelter for 100s of abandoned animals across South Yorkshire.

Claire Walsh, Community Safety Co-ordinator at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, said: “We were really pleased to win the award and couldn’t wait to present Barnsley Animal Rescue with the donation. We wanted to help a local charity and felt that Barnsley Animal Rescue was a very worthy cause.”

“Often in our line of work we come across vulnerable persons who unfortunately have to give their beloved animals up for re-homing and Barnsley Animal Rescue help to do this.”

Kath Bailey, founding member and trustee at Barnsley Animal Rescue, said: “The staff and animals at Barnsley Animal Rescue would like to say a big thank you to South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.  Every penny of the £250 donation will go towards helping the stray and abandoned animals in our care to find a forever home and a second chance in life.”

Fire Community Safety Officers and the High Risk Coordination Team fit tens of thousands of smoke alarms each year, helping to reduce the number of accidental dwelling fires in the homes of some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Team programme success as young people turn their lives around

A number of young people including a dad struggling to find direction in his life and a shy teenager who’s just got a job at a Rotherham care home have all benefited from a police and fire service led youth programme.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) and South Yorkshire Police (SYP) teamed up with the Prince’s Trust to deliver the Team Programme two years ago. During that time around 100 young people have benefited from the 12 week personal development course for unemployed 16 – 25 year olds, offering work experience, qualifications, practical skills, community projects and a residential week.

Individuals gained new skills, mixed with new people and made new friends, they were given help with job-hunting and CV writing and most importantly a big boost to their confidence and a real sense of achievement.

Past participants are now championing the programme, encouraging others to take their first step and to sign up for this life changing experience.

Elise Morton, a member of our second Team Programme in Dearne, joined the course in January 2017. Elise has come on a fantastic journey, initially struggling to engage with the team and the staff, but with each week gained more confidence. Since completing the course in May Elise has now gained employment as a care support worker at a care home in Rotherham.

Elise Morton said; “I would recommend this programme to people, it helped me to build my confidence, improve my communication skills and got me into a job that I love. I want to thank the team for all their support.”

Dervla Watson from Dearne Team 2 joined the Team in January 2017, she was at sixth form but felt she was not where she wanted to be, so joined the Team Programme. Dervla is now on a Construction Study Programme based at the Mears Learning Academy in Rotherham.

Dervla Watson said; “The Team programme really helped me, it gave me time to figure out what I wanted to do. It helped me but I also witnessed so many changes with others in my group too. Not only that but having the Prince’s Trust Team programme on my CV got me noticed. I am now looking forward to a career doing a job I really enjoy. I would like to thank the Team leaders and my Team for all their support.”

Connor Simpson also joined the Dearne team in January 2017.  Initially he had no idea what he wanted to do in the future, but with a young family he knew he had to start thinking and planning.  During the Team programme he arranged work experience with Kingswood an outdoor education company and thoroughly enjoyed it. On completion of the programme he attended a taster day with them and has now secured himself an apprenticeship as an Activity Leader.

Connor Simpson said; “I would recommend the programme to anybody who is unsure what they want to do with their life, I would never have seen myself doing the job I do now. The programme offered me these opportunities. I now wake up every morning doing a job I love and look forward to going to work in the morning to see what the day has to offer.  I would like to thank the team for getting me to this point in my life.”

We are now recruiting for the next Team Programme’s based in Barnsley and for the first time in Sheffield, to be part of it and to take that first step contact John Daley on 07769 887249 or

More details can be found on the South Yorkshire Police website here

Follow updates on Twitter at #PrincesTrust

Youtube video: