Firefighters showcase skills at Stocksbridge Reservoir

Firefighters from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue teamed up with Yorkshire Water to highlight the importance of water safety whilst showcasing their water rescue skills.

To support Drowning Prevention Week, the specialist water rescue team from Aston Park attended Underbank Reservoir last week. Crowds gathered at the open water sports centre to watch the firefighters demonstrate a general boat rescue as well as various techniques such as floating walkways and line bagging.

The purpose of this demonstration was to highlight the dangers associated with open water, especially as Summer approaches.

Around 400 people needlessly drown in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences. South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue works closely with communities to educate them of the dangers surrounding open waters – a key part of their prevention work.

Area Manager Steve Helps, Head of Prevention and Protection at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said, ““We regularly receive 999 calls in the summer about people getting into difficulty in water, so it’s only a matter of time before someone’s safety is really put at risk unless people listen to our advice.

“It can be tempting to cool off in the summer months, but stick to a swimming pool. Hundreds of people drown each year in the UK and places like rivers, lakes or flooded quarries are completely unsuitable for swimming as they hide a number of hidden dangers.”

Darren Lynch, Regional Raw Water Manager at Yorkshire Water said, “Reservoirs may look tempting to take a swim in but they can be killers and today’s practice rescue will hopefully raise awareness of these risks amongst young people. Cold water shock can lead to hyperventilation, increased blood pressure, breathing difficulties and heart attacks plus water temperatures remain just as cold in summer as in winter.”

Over 400 people die in the water every year in the UK, and firefighters are urging people to follow some basic rules to stay safe.

The dangers of open water are:

  • The water can be much deeper than you expect • Rivers, lakes, canals and reservoirs are much colder than you think • Open water can carry water borne diseases, pollutants and bacteria • Cold water dramatically affects your ability to swim • There may be hidden currents, which can pull you under the water • You don’t know what lies beneath, like pieces of rubbish or reeds which can trap or injure you

Firefighters’ Everly Pregnant single raises thousands for charity

A chart topping bid by firefighters has raised thousands of pounds for two local causes.

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.

Thousands of people bought the track and after a delay whilst official download figures were collated, the band has revealed that the track has raised £4,311, which will be split between Shelter and Age UK Sheffield.

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

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 just a bit of fun, albeit with a serious safety message at its heart, it’s fantastic that the song will have a lasting impact on local people having raised such a lot of money for two great causes, both of which are closely linked to our work supporting the most vulnerable people in society.”

Bluebell Smith, community fundraising manager of Age UK Sheffield said; “We’re so grateful to the Everly Pregnant Brothers and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue for raising over £2,000 for Age UK Sheffield. With the single being realised just before Christmas, it really raised awareness about the support we offer during a time that can be exceptionally difficult for older people, particularly those who are lonely or isolated. Everyone across the organisation loved getting involved, and even our customers at the Wellbeing Centre were singing the song and wearing a ‘Me Chip Pans On Fire’ T-Shirt!”

Everly Pregnant Brothers’ band member Klive Humberstone said; “It’s a privilege being in a position to help raise money for two great charities, the fact we had a reyt laugh in the process was an added bonus. We doff our hats to the gang at Red Watch for being great sports and being just as daft as us.”

Chris Taylor, Sheffield team leader at Shelter said; “We are really grateful to the Everly Pregnant Brothers for donating half of the proceeds from Chip Pan to our services in Sheffield, and thankful also to South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue for publicising the track. The donation will help us make a tangible difference to Sheffield people who are in real need of support and advice with their housing problems.”

Team programme success as young people turn their lives around

A number of young people are now in work or education thanks to the success of the emergency services run Prince’s Trust Programme.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) and South Yorkshire Police (SYP) teamed up with the Prince’s Trust to deliver the Prince’s Trust Team Programme two years ago. During that time around 75 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, with their new lives and careers ahead of them these young people are encouraging others to take their first step and to sign up for this life changing experience.

Lee Niven, a member of our first Team Programme in Barnsley, managed to secure an apprenticeship with Network Rail while on the course, which has now led to full time employment as part of the Network Rail’s emergency response team and is gaining valuable qualifications which will secure his future.

Lee Niven said; “Without the support of the team leaders, the Prince’s Trust and the Fire and Police service I would not have had the confidence to go for this role. I would recommend this programme to everybody who needs a step up in life.”

Tara Nortcliffe was part of Team 3 at Barnsley she said; “After a successful work placement through the programme at a care home I was really pleased when they offered me a full time job.  This is the field that I have always wanted to work in.

“I have had a difficult few years but being on the Prince’s Trust programme helped me overcome all the barriers that I had faced and now look forward to the future.”

Emma Salt was a member of Team 3 at Barnsley and at the end of the course was able to secure a job at Barnsley Football club on match days and also works in the restaurant there.

Emma said; “I really enjoyed the Prince’s Trust programme, I made loads of new friends and my confidence has just grown.  I want to help others get the same experience as me which is why I have now volunteered with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police to help run the Team Programme.”

We are now recruiting for the next Team Programme’s based in Dearne and Barnsley, to be part of it and to take that first step contact John Daley on 07769 887249 or princestrust@syfire.gov.uk.

More details can be found on the South Yorkshire Police website here www.southyorks.police.uk/princestrust

Follow updates on Twitter at #PrincesTrust

Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvSKmcRN_Qc

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Prince’s Trust Team graduates with emergency services honours

Fifteen young people have successfully graduated from the Prince’s Trust Team Programme having completed a challenging 12 week programme.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) and South Yorkshire Police (SYP) teamed up with the Prince’s Trust to deliver the Prince’s Trust Team Programme. Team 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 young people have all been thrown out of their comfort zone during the last few weeks, participating in a week-long residential in the Peak District, transforming the area around Manvers Lake as part of their community project and learning new skills in individual work placements.

The graduation which was held at Rotherham Town Hall was a celebration of all their hard work and efforts. It was attended by their friends and family as well as local dignitaries.

SYP Assistant Team Leader Sarah Hague said; “I am really proud of the whole group, throughout the Team Programme the young people have experienced a sense of achievement which has inspired them to move forward with new confidence and ambition. We wish them all the luck for their future.”

SYFR Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “The last 12 weeks have been about building the confidence of these 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 have been able to offer participants crucial skills and insights they otherwise may never have experienced. I am truly proud of the role the fire service has played in helping these young people aspire to a better future.”

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

South Yorkshire care homes reminded of fire safety laws duty

Business fire safety officers are reminding care home owners in South Yorkshire of their obligations under safety laws, after a serious incident in Hertfordshire over the weekend.

The circumstances around the fire in Cheshunt where two people sadly died are still being investigated, but South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) says the incident is another reminder of the risks associated with residential care facilities.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is the enforcing body for business fire safety laws locally, with care homes and other specialist accommodation falling under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Business Fire Safety Manager Amy Jenkinson said: “People living in residential care homes are often very vulnerable to fire. They may have limited mobility, or a disability, which makes it difficult for them to notice a fire and react quickly.

“That’s why it is so important care providers and care home owners take their fire safety responsibilities seriously and why we are working with them to improve fire safety where needed.”

The fire service says there are a number of things that care providers should consider to reduce their risk of fire and save lives, including:

  • Carrying out a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment to ensure the safety of the people in your care, and your staff.
  • Fitting sprinklers. They are a potentially life saving tool that can be effective in stopping fires from spreading quickly, particularly in buildings occupied by people with reduced mobility.
  • Training staff in the evacuation of people from residential care
  • Learning to spot the signs of a person who is more at risk being seriously injured in a fire, or who poses a greater risk of accidentally starting a fire, and put in place reasonable steps to prevent it

For more information on business fire safety law, click here

Fire Authority approves fire service plans

Two extra fire engines will be introduced in South Yorkshire, under plans approved by councillors today (27 March).

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says the plans mean it will continue to provide the best possible service to local people within the resources available to it, despite having lost more than £14 million from its annual budget since 2010.

Key changes in the service’s Integrated Risk Management Plan 2017-20, approved by its governing Fire Authority, include:

  • Changing the staffing of the second fire engine at Sheffield’s Central fire station so that it is available all of the time in the day, but ‘on call’ at night
  • Adding two additional fire engines at two fire stations in South Yorkshire, which would also be available all of the time in the day, but ‘on call’ at night
  • Continuing to offer fire prevention guidance to all, but prioritising its free Home Safety Checks service for those who the service believes are at the greatest risk of fire
  • Finding further ways of working more closely with the police and ambulance services, as a new law now makes it a requirement for all emergency services to do

The plans also explain how the fire service will respond to Government’s efforts to reform the fire service nationally, including requirements to provide a more flexible and diverse workforce.

Following feedback from staff and the public during the consultation phase, the service says it will keep the second fire engine at Central fire station as a full time appliance if its funding allows.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden, said: “Our vision for the lifetime of this plan is to provide the best possible service to the people of South Yorkshire within the resources which are available to us.

“For us, that means making more of our firefighters available in the day when crews are busiest, changing our prevention work to focus on those most at risk and proactively exploring collaboration opportunities with other emergency services.

“We were pleased that lots of local people came forward to share their views on our proposals and, now they have been approved, we will be working hard to put those plans into action.”

All fire and rescue authorities must provide a plan which sets out the steps they will take and resources they need to improve public safety, reduce fires and save lives. This is known as an Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). It must be publicly available, reflect consultation with stakeholders and demonstrate the most up-to-date analysis of local risk.

To read the final plan, click here

Unveiling of the first ever throwline station in South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire’s first ever throwline station was unveiled at Ulley Country Park last week, offering a potential lifeline to the hundreds of people who visit every week.

The throwline station has been dedicated to Dylan Ramsay, a young boy who drowned whilst swimming in a Lancashire quarry six years ago.

Dylan Ramsay’s mum, Beckie, attended the event to unveil the board in his memory and shared her story with local councillors.

Dylan was swimming in a quarry and had been in the water about twenty minutes before getting into difficulties. He was pulled from the water and given CPR but was unable to be resuscitated.

Ever since, Beckie has worked tirelessly to promote water safety and has launched a campaign in his memory ‘Doing it for Dylan’.

Doing it for Dylan was set up to get water safety messages to children, students and adults to raise the awareness around the dangers of swimming in open water.

Around 400 people needlessly drown in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences. These stations provide quick access rescue capability for anyone who might find themselves in difficulties in the water.

Area Manager Steve Helps said “This is a fantastic initiative and will go a long way to protect those who visit Ulley Country Park on a daily basis. This is a key part of our prevention work and I’m sure it will be the first of many throwline stations within South Yorkshire.”

You can download a Water Safety Booklet here

To find out more about Doing It For Dylan go to www.facebook.com/doingitfordylan, or follow @missmybabyboy on Twitter.

Young fire fan visits South Yorkshire as part of 2,500-station journey

An 11-year-old autistic schoolboy who dreams of being a firefighter has visited stations in South Yorkshire as part of efforts to visit every fire facility in the country.

Andrew Impey, from Southsea, Hampshire recently ticked off the 999th station, the emergency services number marking a milestone on his 2,500-station journey.

This week he added Birley Moor, Parkway and Elm Lane fire stations to his list as part of his mission.

He had been aiming to raise £999 for The Fire Fighters Charity but upped this to £1,943 to mark the period when the National Fire Service was born. He has so far raised more than £1,700.

In addition to stations, he has visited individual departments, specialist units and even fire crews based at airports.

This year he will be visiting the US with his family to meet firefighters from the Fire Department of the City of New York.

He has also kitted his room out as a fire station with more than 800 bits of equipment and trinkets he has been given by various services and pieces he has picked up at expos and trade shows.

He has 32 helmets, 10 full fire kits and even a mini-set of breathing apparatus as well as a control room-style map and a firefighters’ pole.

Andrew documents his travels on social media, where he uses his middle name and is known as Andrew Dane, on #oneladschallenge.

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.”