South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Kids talk about firefighting dads in new campaign video

The children of South Yorkshire firefighters have spoken about their ‘kind’, ‘loving’ and ‘brave’ dads in a brand new campaign video from the county’s fire service.

Filmed as part of International Father’s Mental Health Day (IFMHD), the video features five youngsters talking about the things they love about their dads – all of whom are serving firefighters.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) says it has produced the video in a bid to show that, beneath the tough outer shell, every firefighter is a normal and vulnerable human being.

The service is also hoping to highlight and support the messaging around IFMHD – which is that men can also experience postpartum depression and may need support of their own.

“We know that society generally views men as stoic and strong, especially those who work within the fire, police and military services. However, we are still only human, like anyone else,” said Chief Fire Officer, Chris Kirby.

“We want to make it clear to any men working for South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, and in fact all men living across the county, that it is ok to talk if you’re struggling.

“We also wanted to support the messaging given out around Father’s Mental Health Day – which is that even the strongest of men can suffer from conditions such as postnatal depression.

“Whoever you are and whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence. Help is out there.”

The fire service’s backing for this Father’s Day themed campaign comes after years of work to improve the health and wellbeing support offered to firefighters across South Yorkshire.

An employee assistance programme, which offers help on a range of issues from finance to family life, is one of the key systems the service has put in place recently.

Firefighters can then also benefit from a critical incident wellbeing support programme, which involves specially trained members of staff visiting crews that have been involved in potentially upsetting incidents.

These things are offered to staff on top of the service’s existing provision – which includes a full-time occupational health department and an onus on managers to look after their staff.

The service has also supported Andy’s Man Club for many years, and has recently launched a mental health walking group for male emergency service staff – both serving and retired.

The video can be viewed here on the SYFR YouTube channel.

Anybody in need of support or someone to talk to can contact Samaritans on 116 123 – their service is completely free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Fire Authority names new Assistant Chief Fire Officer

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority (SYFRA) has appointed a new Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

Andy Strelczenie was appointed following a selection process which included a written application, operational assessment and three interviews – including a final one with members of the Fire Authority’s appointments committee.

Andy has worked within the fire and rescue service for 26 years, originally at Hereford and Worcester Fire & Rescue Service before transferring to South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.

He was previously an Area Manager at SYFR and has been our Head of Emergency Response for three years, more recently overseeing Service Development, Business Fire Safety, HMICFRS inspection planning and our work with the National Fire Chief’s Council.

In his new role, Andy will lead on the delivery of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s service improvement plan and community risk management plans.

Fire Authority Chair Cllr Tony Damms, said: “It’s incredibly important that our fire and rescue service is well led, which is why the selection process for senior roles such as this is so rigorous. The qualities Andy demonstrated during the process will all be needed to drive forward improvement across the organisation, enabling it to provide the best possible service to the communities it serves.”

Andy said: “I am incredibly proud of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and honoured to be appointed the service Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

“We aspire to become one of the UK’s leading fire and rescue services and I look forward to further supporting that ambition in my new role – working with our fantastic staff to make sensible improvements to the way we deliver our services whilst putting the needs of our communities first.”

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South Yorkshire firefighters back brave Molly’s bid to raise charity cash

South Yorkshire firefighters are supporting a brave Sheffield girl’s bid to raise vital cash for the charity which supported her care.

Molly Williams, aged 9, was born with a rare form of motor neurone disease, meaning she will never walk or stand without support.

But now Molly and her sister Anya and brother Edmund have spent time training with firefighters at Parkway fire station as she gears up to complete 84 laps of an athletics track- a lap for every night she’s spent in critical care.

Group Manager Paul Bragger, said: “When we heard about Molly’s incredible fundraising challenge, our firefighters were only too happy to meet Molly and her family to help her prepare.

“Our crews have been so inspired by her story, they are planning a string of their own events in support of her fundraising efforts, including 100 climbs of our 32 metre turntable ladder- which is no mean feat!”

Full-time wheelchair user Molly has already undergone two, 10 hour surgeries at Sheffield Children’s Hospital during her short life- straightening her spine with rods and reconstructing both her hips. Sometimes she needs a special mask to breathe.

The Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) charity has supported her by providing specialist equipment to improve her quality of life- which is what’s prompted Molly and her family to launch their fundraising challenge.

Molly’s former RAF mechanic dad Julian is running and walking 100 miles in one mammoth 24 hour session.

Meanwhile Molly, mum May, sister Anya and brother Edmund will complete 84 laps of a 220 metre indoor athletics track on her duet tandem wheelchair bicycle.

The challenge takes place on 28 and 29 May at the English Institute of Sport and Olympic Legacy Park, Sheffield.

For more information or to donate, visit http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/100miles4molly

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Sprinklers put out fire at Doncaster tower block

Sprinklers extinguished a fire in a high-rise block of flats in Doncaster.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue attended a fire at Hatfield House, Balby Bridge just before midday on Tuesday (26 April) caused by hair straighteners setting fire to some bedding.

The occupant was able to evacuate safely and the fire was already out when firefighters arrived on the scene, thanks to sprinklers which had been fitted throughout the building.

Fire officers say the incident again highlights the value of fire sprinklers fitted in high-rise, residential buildings.

Area Manager Cath Toovey, said: “Fire Sprinklers are a cost effective way of making high-rise, residential dwellings safer – they stop fires from spreading, put them out quickly, save lives and have a long working life span. We’re proud of the reputation we’ve built nationally as a leading fire and rescue service for our long standing advocacy of the benefits of fire sprinklers. It’s pleasing to see that not only are housing providers understanding these benefits as well, but that they have done their job at an incident which might otherwise have been much more serious.”

All high-rise tower blocks in Doncaster have been fitted with fire sprinklers by St Leger Homes.

The housing provider’s investment followed a joint, fire service funded project at Silverwood House in Doncaster which further highlighted the ease and benefits of retrofitting sprinklers in high-rise buildings.

The installation was awarded £209,000 by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s Stronger Safer Communities Reserve, which used money set aside from the Authority’s reserves.

Fire sprinklers are now mandatory in all new build residential buildings in England 11 metres or more in height.

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Fire service campaign aims to tackle leading cause of property fires

Firefighters across South Yorkshire are urging people to be more careful with electrical goods, as part of a new safety campaign intent on reducing local house fires.

The county’s fire service says that it has attended over 300 house fires in the last three years, where electrics have been to blame, making it one of the leading causes of accidental dwelling fire in the county.

And with the use of things like e-scooters and e-cigarettes on the rise, and the increased availability of cheaper, imitation electrical goods online, officers are concerned that they could see more such fires going forward.

They say that whilst house fires generally are continuing to drop, electrical fires – caused by things such as white goods, phone chargers and dodgy wiring – are still not going away.

“We’re proud of the work we’ve done over the last decade to massively reduce house fires across South Yorkshire, but our figures suggest electrical fires are still a big issue for us,” said Area Manager Matt Gillatt, head of the joint fire and police community safety team.

“As well as being a leading cause of house fire generally, we are very conscious that thousands of electrical items are sold each day to people across the county. Be it washing machines or tumble dryers, e-cigs or e-scooters, phone chargers or computer tablets, electrical goods are everywhere.

“We are also conscious that people are busier than ever, and as the cost of living continues to rise, people’s priorities may change when it comes to fire safety. That’s why we’ve launched this latest campaign – we want people to try and take a little bit extra care when it comes to electrics.”

The service is asking people to do some specific things in order to reduce their risk of having an electrical fire.

Firstly, firefighters are asking that people ensure their white goods – such as washing machines, fridges and tumble dryers – are registered. This ensures that they will be notified if there are any potential issues or recalls with that product.

Secondly, people are being asked to avoid leaving washers and dryers on at night or when they are out. Lots of incidents attended by fire crews across South Yorkshire have started when an appliance has malfunctioned with nobody there to turn it off prior to a fire starting.

Residents are also urged not to buy fake electrical goods, however cheap they might be, and not to overload plug sockets and extension leads – most of which can only take 13 amps which is the equivalent of one kettle.

“It’s really important to stress that we don’t just want people to be safe so that we can reduce our incident numbers,” added Matt.

“House fires, regardless of the cause, can be absolutely devastating from a financial perspective – and they can really disrupt your life.

Even at the incidents where nobody is harmed, generally people end up displaced as they either can’t use, access or safely live in their damaged home anymore.”

For more information on home and electrical fire safety, and to book a home safety check from local crews, visit www.syfire.gov.uk.

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Tony Carlin named South Yorkshire’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer

Tony Carlin has been named South Yorkshire’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer, following a competitive selection process.

Tony, who is currently the service’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, was promoted following multiple recruitment stages and an interview by the Fire Authority’s appointments committee.

Tony joined South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in 2000, having begun his career as a firefighter in North Yorkshire in 1992.

He’s built up a broad range of experience within the fire and rescue service- overseeing areas including community and business fire safety, workforce development, training and data and performance. He’s also acted as a workplace mentor to other leaders within the fire and rescue service.

Fire Authority chair Cllr Tony Damms, said: “The selection process was both competitive and thorough, so for Tony to come out on top is testament to his exceptional ability and experience. The qualities he demonstrated to the appointments committee will be important as the service looks to continue its improvement journey.”

Tony Carlin, said: “It’s an incredible honour to be appointed to this position, having served the people of South Yorkshire for more than 20 years. I very much look forward to using my skills and experience to further improve the service and its culture and to help develop the next generation of leaders within a fire and rescue service which I love.”

Tony will take up his new role in May, when the current Deputy Chief Fire Officer steps into the Chief Fire Officer role after current chief Alex Johnson QFSM retires.

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Fire services combine to buy brand new rescue jackets for firefighters

South Yorkshire’s firefighters have been kitted out with a brand new piece of protective clothing, bought as part of a regional collaboration with neighbouring fire and rescue services.

The multi-function rescue jackets are worn by firefighters at non-fire rescue incidents like road traffic collisions, as well as small fires in the open.

The high visibility, waterproof jackets are designed to be as lightweight and breathable as possible, helping fire crews to maneuver more easily and comfortably at incidents where traditional fire kit is not required.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has bought the jackets in a joint venture with the services in North Yorkshire and Humberside.

South Yorkshire’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Tony Carlin, said: “This is a completely new piece of kit for South Yorkshire and signals our commitment to providing our firefighters with the very best clothing and equipment with which they carry out their life saving work.

“We are dedicated to working with our neighbouring services and this is another clear example of a collaboration project that not only enhances the safety of our firefighters, but ensures best value to the people we serve.”

Steve Topham, Director of Service Support Delivery, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The new jackets have been really well received by crews who now have a wider choice of clothing appropriate for non-fire incidents. The regional collaboration has been a real success and ensures that we deliver on our objective of getting the best value for money where possible when purchasing vehicles, equipment and clothing.”

Dave Winspear, North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service’s Director of Capabilities said: “We work really hard to make sure that our firefighters are provided with the most appropriate kit for the job in hand and earlier this month we went live with our new multi-function rescue jacket. It meets all the requirements of a high-vis jacket and you’ll see our firefighters wearing then when attending non-structural incidents like road traffic collisions.”

UK fire and rescue services have been encouraged to work together to drive down the amount spent on essential goods such as frontline equipment and workwear.

The Policing & Crime Act 2017 placed a new statutory duty on emergency services to look at opportunities to work collaboratively.

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Have a go days!

Would you like to try your hand at being a firefighter?

We’re running a series of have a go and have a chat sessions that will give you a chance to meet our staff, answer any questions, learn about the recruitment process and, ultimately, try your hand at some of our practical tests.

The dates are below and you need to book your place by emailing positiveaction@syfire.gov.uk – please note that we can only accept applications from people living within South Yorkshire.

WEEK ONE – The role of a firefighter – Zoom
Tuesday 22 March – 10am OR Wednesday 23 March – 6.30pm

WEEK TWO – The recruitment and selection process – Zoom
Tuesday 29 March – 10am OR Wednesday 30 March – 6.30pm

WEEK THREE – The practical tests – Zoom
Tuesday 5 April – 10am OR Wednesday 13 April – 6.30pm

WEEK FOUR – Firefighter fitness – Zoom
Tuesday 12 April – 10am OR Wednesday 13 April – 6.30pm

HAVE A GO DAY – Face to face
Sunday 3 April OR Sunday 22 May

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Firefighter Ellie becomes family’s third generation to serve at Askern fire station

Three generations of the same firefighting family attended an extra special ceremony to mark the graduation of the latest recruit to join the ranks at Askern fire station.

Ellie Adams, aged 23, has became the third generation of her family to serve at Askern, Doncaster after completing her initial training and ‘passing out’ in front of family and friends at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Sheffield training base.

Amongst those watching were Ellie’s dad Steve Adams and grandad Michael Jackson who both served on-call at Askern fire station.

On-call firefighters are paid for their training, for being on-call and for each incident they attend – but they must live or work within a five minute drive of their closest fire station.

Dad Steve, who retires from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue after 35 years’ service later this month, said: “It was an incredibly proud day for the whole family. Firefighting isn’t something we’ve necessarily pushed on Ellie as a family, but as soon as she heard that we were recruiting at Askern fire station she wanted to give it a go. Like the rest of the recent recruits, she’s had to work really hard to complete her initial training, but the way she’s applied herself to it all has made me really proud.”

Ellie’s grandad Michael Jackson joined Askern fire station in 1960 aged 17- combining his firefighting role with a full time job at the nearby colliery. He rose to the rank of sub-officer, before retiring from the fire service in 1981.

He’d been inspired to sign-up by his older brother Fred- a D-Day veteran who joined Doncaster Fire Brigade in 1947, before going on to become Chief Fire Officer in Hong Kong.

Michael is father-in-law to Steve, who began work at Askern in 1987 before becoming a full time firefighter with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in 1996. He’s been there ever since, rising to the rank of Group Manager.

Now daughter Ellie has followed in both their footsteps. She joined South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in September after completing a pandemic disrupted university degree. She’s been working towards completing her initial training, culminating in last week’s ceremony.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is currently recruiting on-call firefighters at Askern, Rossington and Penistone fire station.

For more information on the role of an on-call firefighter or to apply, visit the service’s website here.

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Service launches exhibition as part of International Women’s Day

Inspirational women from across South Yorkshire’s fire service are being celebrated this week, as part of a brand new ‘Women of Fire’ exhibition.

Pulled together by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, as part of International Women’s Day, the exhibition features portrait photographs of eight women currently working within the service.

Organisers say that the exhibition has been designed to support this year’s official women’s day theme – #BreakTheBias – by celebrating the huge contributions of women to the fire service.

Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson, features alongside firefighters, senior leaders, corporate staff and control room operators.

She says that the exhibition has been designed to support this year’s official women’s day theme – #BreakTheBias – by celebrating the huge contributions of women to the fire service.

“We’re starting to see a really positive change in the perceptions around women in the fire service, which has been great, but we can’t stop now,” she said.

“Right across the country we have amazing women doing a vital role in the UK fire and rescue sector, as they have been for years, and International Women’s Day provides us with the perfect platform to celebrate this.

“This exhibition has been designed to show that you can be a woman, and a firefighter, both at the same time. The staff featured in the portraits are living examples of that.

“So if you’re a woman who has long considered applying for a career in the fire service, but you’ve never made the leap, we want you to check out our exhibition.

“Every woman in those photos has done it, and so can you.”

The physical ‘Women of Fire’ exhibition will be showcased at the Winter Gardens, Sheffield, between Wednesday 9 March and Monday 14 March.

Each of the staff involved in the exhibition has had two photos taken to capture two sides of their character – one reflecting their life at work and one reflecting their life outside of it.

The service has also developed a website dedicated to the exhibition – this can be viewed at Women of Fire (women-of-fire.co.uk) – and includes details of all those featured in the photographs.

The photographs for the exhibition were captured by Orestes S Rix, a portrait photographer who previously worked on the service’s FAMILY exhibition for Black History Month.

The service would also like to thank North Notts College who provided media make-up students who supported the exhibition.

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