South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Draft risk management plan published

South Yorkshire’s fire service presented its latest plans for keeping local people safe next week – including proposals for how quickly it should respond to different types of emergency.

You can read our Draft Integrated Risk Management Plan 2021 to 2024 here.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it will still aim to attend every single 999 call as quickly as it possibly can, but that having a set of published response times will make it more accountable to local people, help it to improve its service and bring them in line with most other services around the country.

Currently the service simply aims to get to all emergencies as fast as it can, every time. A national inspection reported that it was undesirable for the service not to have a set of response standards.

The proposed new response time arrangements will take into account whether a person’s life is at risk, as well as the level of risk in different parts of the county based on historical incident data and other information.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Kirby said: “Adopting a more risk based approach allows us to ensure we are placing resources in the right places at the right time to best protect the communities we serve. This includes the work we do around preventing fires, protecting buildings and responding to incidents when they do occur.

“We will still aim to get to each emergency as fast as we can, but having a set of response times means we can measure our performance to ensure we are delivering the best possible service to our communities with the resources we have available to us.”

The response time proposals follow initial consultation with more than 3,000 local people and a thorough analysis of the different risks faced by the fire service in South Yorkshire.

They form part of the service’s latest draft ‘Integrated Risk Management Plan’. This is a plan which explains the different risks in South Yorkshire how the fire service intends to address them with the resources it has available.

The draft plan was discussed by members of the service’s governing Fire Authority on Monday (14 September), who instructed the service to begin a further period of consultation with staff and the public.

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Calais to London mileage mission for Sheffield man’s Red Cross refugee cause

A Sheffield man is attempting to ‘run’ between Calais and London in a bid to raise cash and awareness for refugees.

Steve Kay, aged 36, has already clocked up 50 miles in his 108 miles mission to support the British Red Cross, which offers support, food and hygiene to refugees and people seeking asylum.

Steve, who works in the ICT team at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, said: “2020 has been a tough year for many people across the world, but most of these hardships are a drop in the ocean compared to the horrors that refugees face in search of a better life for themselves and their families. Many refugees are forced to flee war-torn countries and are left with nothing, and the British Red Cross offer a vital lifeline in the form of supplies, communication and transport that serves to help them start a new life.”

Steve aims to have reached his mileage target- which matches the distance between Calais and London- by the end of September.

He’s already raised more than £400 for the British Red Cross, which aims to help people in crisis whoever and wherever they are.

People can sponsor Steve here https://miles-for-refugees-2020.everydayhero.com/uk/steven-kay

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Firefighters graduate with live-streamed passing parade

The 65th firefighter recruits graduated with a passing out parade at the service’s training centre on Friday (7 September).

With large gatherings still not permitted, the ceremony was live streamed so that friends and families of the ten recruits could watch from home.

Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson and Fire Authority Chair Cllr Robert Taylor both addressed the recruits.

The recruits were all presented with their certificates, before the award for top recruit was made to Paul Barrett.

You can watch the ceremony for yourselves on our YouTube Channel here

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Fire service publishes new 999 response time proposals in latest risk plan

South Yorkshire’s fire service will present its latest plans for keeping local people safe next week – including proposals for how quickly it should respond to different types of emergency.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it will still aim to attend every single 999 call as quickly as it possibly can, but that having a set of published response times will make it more accountable to local people, help it to improve its service and bring them in line with most other services around the country.

Currently the service simply aims to get to all emergencies as fast as it can, every time. A national inspection reported that it was undesirable for the service not to have a set of response standards.

The proposed new response time arrangements will take into account whether a person’s life is at risk, as well as the level of risk in different parts of the county based on historical incident data and other information.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Kirby said: “Adopting a more risk based approach allows us to ensure we are placing resources in the right places at the right time to best protect the communities we serve. This includes the work we do around preventing fires, protecting buildings and responding to incidents when they do occur.

“We will still aim to get to each emergency as fast as we can, but having a set of response times means we can measure our performance to ensure we are delivering the best possible service to our communities with the resources we have available to us.”

The response time proposals follow initial consultation with more than 3,000 local people and a thorough analysis of the different risks faced by the fire service in South Yorkshire.

They form part of the service’s latest draft ‘Integrated Risk Management Plan’. This is a plan which explains the different risks in South Yorkshire how the fire service intends to address them with the resources it has available.

The draft plan will be discussed by members of the service’s governing Fire Authority on Monday (14 September), before a further period of consultation with staff and the public.

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Recruitment opens for on-call firefighters across South Yorkshire

Six fire stations across South Yorkshire are recruiting now for on-call firefighters, with anyone interested urged to act quickly before the current recruitment window closes.

New recruits are needed at Penistone, Stocksbridge, Askern, Rossington, Birley and Dearne to help crews there respond to emergency calls and carry out important prevention work.

Anyone interested is urged to register their interest on the service’s website, here. Information about the next steps will then be sent out in due course.

On-call firefighters are local people who live or work within five minutes of their stations. They carry a pager when they are on-duty that alerts them when they are needed.

“The role our on-call firefighters play is vital – these are extraordinary people who drop everything when needed to attend emergency incidents in their local areas,” said SYFR Station Manager, Chris Tyler.

“They are given the same training as our full-time firefighters and, rightly, get exactly the same buzz, camaraderie and kudos that comes with such an important job.

“Our recruitment window will close at the end of September so I’d encourage anyone who wants to test themselves and fulfil this common childhood dream to act now.

“That especially includes anyone who is unsure whether this is the job for them. These are flexible roles and we will support people who have the right attitude and commitment.”

On-call staff are paid an annual ‘retainer’ fee and then get paid for each incident they attend. They are also paid for any community work they carry out and weekly training on station.

The flexible and adaptable nature of on-call firefighting means that it can be done on top of other full-time work, study or family commitments.

More information on the role can be found here. Alternatively, www.oncallfire.uk provides more detail about the major, national on-call recruitment drive that was launched last year.

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Fire service wants public to have their say on 999 response times

South Yorkshire’s fire service wants people to have their say on its work – including how quickly it should respond to different types of emergency.

We’ve today launched a consultation on how it delivers its service, with the results used to help plan its services over the next few years.

You can complete the consultation survey here

Amongst the questions it wants people’s views on are the expected response times it should set for different incidents.

The consultation will also ask people for their views on the quality of service and value for money SYFR provides taxpayers, and what people think its priorities should be over the next few years.

The results of the consultation will help to inform the service’s next Integrated Risk Management Plan. This is a plan which considers the different risks in South Yorkshire and how the fire service intends to address them with the resources it has available.

A draft plan will be submitted to the service’s governing Fire Authority in September, before further consultation with the public.

The plan is not expected to propose any cuts to firefighters, fire engines or fire stations.

The best way for people to have their say is by visiting www.syfire.gov.uk

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Sheffield mum makes smoke alarm plea as part of new fire service campaign

Firefighters across South Yorkshire are urging the county’s residents to sign up to their free smoke alarm reminder service – www.pressthebutton.co.uk – as part of a new campaign.

They are backed by Rachael Shaw, a mum from Sheffield who had her home in Parsons Cross destroyed by fire earlier this year.

Rachael, her partner and daughter were in bed one night in April when working smoke alarms alerted them to an electrical fire in the living room below.

The fire had developed quickly and thick smoke prevented them from escaping – meaning they had to be rescued from a bedroom window by firefighting crews.

And now, with their house still in ruins, they are living proof that, as South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) regularly reminds people, smoke alarms save lives.

“Luckily we heard the smoke alarm and smelt the smoke. If it wasn’t for the smoke alarm, realistically we wouldn’t have known. It never crossed my mind that the house was on fire.

“Smoke alarms… I never thought they were that important and now they’ve literally saved our lives.”

Speaking of the service’s new campaign, Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, officers say they’re hoping they can motivate people to stop procrastinating and ensure they have alarms in place.

Latest figures released by SYFR show that out of the 486 accidental dwelling fires crews dealt with last year, 102 of the homes attended didn’t have any smoke alarms.

A deeper look at incident data then shows that in the 384 cases where smoke alarms were present, not all of them sounded – either due to them not working or not being positioned correctly.

This makes 238 instances in 2019 where smoke alarms either weren’t present or didn’t sound – this is 49 percent of the 486 houses fires attended by firefighters.

“We’ve spent over a decade now asking people to ensure they have working smoke alarms, and test them regularly,” said Group Manager Matt Gillatt, deputy head of the police and fire community safety team.

“Lots of people have and we’re truly grateful to them but, as these figures show, at almost half of the fires we attended last year there were either no smoke alarms, or the ones present didn’t work as they should.

“Our ask is really clear – we want people to ensure they have working smoke alarms on every level of their home. Then, we want them to make a habit of testing them weekly.

“We offer a free weekly reminder service that people can sign up to and for anybody that needs extra support, we offer home safety checks that can be booked through our website.

“The incident involving Rachael and her family is a really clear example of how important smoke alarms can be – get them, fit them, test them.”

You can sign up to the service’s free reminder service at www.pressthebutton.co.uk and can book a free home safety visit at www.syfire.gov.uk.

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Works starts on new Barnsley fire station

Work has started this week on a brand new, energy efficient station for firefighters in Barnsley.

The existing 60-year-old, three-storey building on Broadway, Kingstone is being demolished after it had reached the end of its operational life. It’s being replaced with a new two storey, three bay facility on the same site.

A separate multi-use facility is planned to be built on the same site, which will 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 will include low energy, LED lighting with motion sensors and an air source heat pump.

Firefighters will be housed in a temporary facility off-site whilst construction of the new building takes place.

The investment follows a study last year which looked at all options including a multi-million pound refurbishment which wasn’t deemed viable.

It also forms part of a wider, short to medium term approved plan to invest in the fire service’s property estate, with around a further £8 million set aside from its reserves to modernise and improve its estate over the next two years.

The investments are being made now, because of uncertainty of how much money will be available to make substantial investments like this in the future if the service’s finances continue to be squeezed.

Director of Support Services Stuart Booth, said: “One of our aspirations is to make the service a great place to work. Part of achieving that means investing in the buildings and facilities our staff use every day and we’re pleased to be making real and tangible progress towards this. We considered refurbishing the existing site, but this didn’t provide best value for money and it didn’t provide the best long term facility for our staff.”

Fire Authority Chair Cllr Robert Taylor, said: “Barnsley Fire Station is the last of the traditional and imposing divisional stations. It has been part of the landscape for over half a century and will hold many fond memories for all those who have served there and the people of Barnsley alike. It is now however time to move forward and this exciting new development will offer a 21st century fire station and facilities that will enhance both the working environment for crews and further develop the already strong community links that exist in Barnsley.”

Bond Bryan acted as architects for the project, Turner and Townsend are providing project and cost management support and JF Finnegan have been appointed as contractors.

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Service thanks public after ‘against all odds’ garden fire reduction

Firefighters say a push to reduce garden fires during the national lockdown has been a huge success, despite the period being the driest in recent history.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue saw a ‘huge’ spike in garden-related fires towards the end of March this year, with people opting to burn waste in the absence of waste recycling centres.

This prompted the service to launch its ‘Take The Pledge’ garden fire initiative – during which officers urged people not to have bonfires during the on-going pandemic.

The result, statistics show, was a reduction in incidents during the campaign period – April and May – in comparison to previous, similar years.

“Incident figures generally speak for themselves but these don’t tell the whole story,” said Area Manager Simon Dunker, head of the joint police and fire community safety team.

“Rainfall data suggests that this year’s April and May were the driest they have been in the last five years, at least. This, as well as the fact that waste recycling centres were closed and the whole country was in a national lockdown, makes a reduction quite remarkable.

“On behalf of the service I’d like to say a huge thank you to the public for taking on board our messaging – supporting us and their neighbours. I’d also like to say a big thank you to our staff who consistently go above and beyond to make South Yorkshire safer.”

As well as a spike in incidents, officers say their campaign was also driven by a flurry of complaints from residents who were struggling to get out in their gardens due to bonfires.

The service attended 533 garden related incidents during April and May this year. This is five percent less than the 563 attended during the same period in 2017 and two percent less than in 2019 – with both of these years experiencing similarly dry springs.

Over a thousand people pledged not to have bonfires during the pandemic and many more got in touch with the service to offer support and ask for advice around controlled burns.

You can still take the pledge not to have a garden fire this summer here.

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Family makes open water plea as fire service launches ‘Dying For A Dip’ campaign

The family of an ‘amazing lad’ who died after jumping in a lake is calling for people to stay out of open water this summer.

Taylor Matthews, known as Tay, tragically passed away after jumping into the water at Skelbrooke Quarry, from a bank around 30ft high, in July 2018.

The inquest into his death ruled that Tay died from immersion, with his body instantly shutting down due to the cold water.

And now, as part of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s new Dying For A Dip campaign, his aunt, Toni Matthews, is pleading with people to not follow in Tay’s footsteps.

“Taylor was a strong swimmer but when he entered the cold water, and his body shut down, there was absolutely nothing he could do,” she said.

“People really don’t have any idea how dangerous open water can be. We don’t want any family to have to go through the pain we’ve suffered.

“To anyone even considering going for a dip in open water, planned or not, please don’t do it. And if you’ve got kids, make sure they know how dangerous it is.”

The collective message and campaign launch – which is also backed by agencies such as Yorkshire Water and FCC Environment, the company that looks after Skelbrooke Quarry – comes after the Royal Life Saving Society’s Drowning Prevention Week (12 to 19 June).

Station Manager Tom Hirst, one of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s water safety leads, said: “What happened to Taylor was an absolute tragedy. It’s one of several similar incidents in Yorkshire over the last few years and each one is equally as heart breaking for their families.

“We want people to enjoy the warmer months and our amazing countryside, but we don’t want you entering bodies of open water, such as quarries, lakes and reservoirs, due to the hazards they present.

“Even when the sun is out the water can be so cold. You have no idea what lies underneath and hidden currents can overcome even the strongest of swimmers.

“Our advice is simple – unless you are part of an organised, supervised swimming group then please stay well clear of open water, as we don’t want any more families to have to go through the heart ache of a water related fatality like this one.

“It’s also worth pointing out that around half of the people who get in bother don’t intend to enter the water at all. So, if you are near rivers or lakes, please be extra careful & don’t get too close.”

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