Fire and Police join forces on water rescue training

Six police officers from South Yorkshire have received specialist water rescue training thanks to a unique collaboration with the fire service’s specialist training school.

The ‘water rescue champions’ from South Yorkshire Police recently completed a water rescue first responder course delivered by expert trainers at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue. The course provided the officers with basic water rescue skills and awareness that they can use when they are first on scene to a water related emergency situation.

The two day course, which took place in Wales, covered a number of simple rescue techniques such as; a tethered swim, the use of throwlines, wading techniques, understanding the dangers of water and the use of water rescue gear.

Station Manager at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, Darren Robertson said: “Around 400 people needlessly drown in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences. By working closely with our partner agencies and sharing skills and knowledge through training, we can work towards reducing these numbers.

“Not only does collaborating on training like this save both services and the public money, but it also ensures we are delivering the best possible service to the people of South Yorkshire.”

As a result of the training, South Yorkshire Police have also purchased a number of throwlines to keep in patrol vehicles in case of a water rescue emergency.

Inspector at South Yorkshire Police, Alan McFarlane said: “The preservation of life is the most important duty the police have. The Rotherham district contains a number of bodies of open water, including Manvers Lake, where there have sadly been a number of drownings over the years.

“In order to increase the police’s ability to act effectively in open-water emergencies, the Rotherham District has purchased a number of throw-bag rescue aids to be carried in patrol cars.

“Having a number of officers trained in basic water rescue means they can now share this water awareness knowledge with other officers in the force.

“We are grateful for the support we have received from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue which will improve our capabilities, coordination with the fire service and ultimately help to keep the people of South Yorkshire safe.”

The Policing & Crime Act 2017 placed a new statutory duty on all three emergency services to look at opportunities to work with one another better to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

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, like Weils disease
  • 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

Fire service seeks views from public on draft plans

The fire service is calling on people in South Yorkshire to have their say on how it plans to meet a financial shortfall of up to £4million.

Draft plans considered by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s governing Fire Authority last month propose reducing the number of firefighters on a fire engine from five to four.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says the only alternative to making the change- which has already been adopted by many other services nationwide- is to reduce the speed of its 999 response during the night time period from up to half of its fire stations.

The organisation faces cost pressures of up to £4 million, due to no longer being able to use a way of staffing fire stations called Close Proximity Crewing and because it may have to meet a significant, national shortfall in pension contributions.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson, said: “We’d rather not make any changes at all, but have a duty to match our resources to local risk and to manage the service in a financially responsible way.

“We face cost pressures of up to £4 million and the extent of the savings required is inevitably going to mean changes to the way we provide our 999 service to the public.

“We think it is better to reduce the number of firefighters on a fire engine, than it is to slow down our response times to some of our communities by reducing the number of fire engines which are immediately available.

“Now we are publishing our draft plans and invite the public to share their views on them.”

All fire and rescue authorities must provide a plan which sets out the steps they will take and resources they need to deliver 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.

People can share their views via an online survey, at www.syfire.gov.uk/haveyoursay, or in writing to IRMP Consultation, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, 197 Eyre Street, Sheffield S1 3FG. The consultation will run for 12-weeks, across May, June, July and August.

Once the consultation period has ended and feedback has been considered, Fire Authority members will make the final decision on the proposals.

Have your say – public consultation

We’re calling on people across South Yorkshire to have their say on how we plan to meet a four million pound financial shortfall.

We currently face cost pressures of up to £4million, due to no longer being able to use a way of staffing our fire stations called Close Proximity Crewing, and because we might have to meet a significant, national shortfall in pension contributions.

Our proposals, which are outlined in our draft Integrated Risk Management Plan, were considered by our governing Fire Authority last month.

The key proposal within this plan is to reduce the number of firefighters on a fire engine from five to four, in order to maintain the number of fire engines we have available 24/7 across the county.

This is a change that has already been adopted by many services across the country – with the only alternative being to reduce the speed of our 999 response, during the night, at up to half of our fire stations.

We’re now publishing our draft plans, which you can see via the link above, and want you to have your say via the survey below. The consultation will run for 12-weeks, across May, June, July and August.

Before filling out the survey – we have published a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that outline why we need to make these savings, what else we’ve done to save money, why we can’t use our reserves and more.

This form collects some personal information – which will be used for monitoring purposes only, to ensure we capture views from people across the whole of South Yorkshire. By sending us a completed form you are agreeing for your data to be used in this way. More information on data sharing and protection can be found here.

IRMP Consultation - 2019

  • Your Details

  • Your Views

Police and fire launch initiative to tackle anti-social behaviour

Efforts to curb anti-social behaviour in South Yorkshire will be boosted by the launch of a new schools education package to be jointly delivered by the police and fire services.

The ‘Equinox’ package has been developed by South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s joint community safety department and aims to provide young people with key safety messages relating to anti-social behaviour during the light night period.

Four new neighbourhood fire community safety officers will be delivering the package, which lasts around 30 minutes and is free of charge, to year 9 pupils across the county.

The presentation covers a range of unacceptable anti-social behaviour activities which may cause harm to an individual, the community or the environment and students will be informed of the potential consequences of such behaviour. This includes; arson, hoax calls, off road motor-biking and vandalism.

Head of the joint community safety department, Steve Helps said: “Engaging with young people in this way is one of the best ways of building lasting, positive relationships which have long term benefits for the communities we serve.”

“Anti-social behaviour can put a big strain on local communities, so having packages like this available to schools will help to educate and inspire young people to make the correct life choices.”

The package will be offered to schools around South Yorkshire during the spring term as part of Operation Equinox, a joint police and fire initiative which aims to reduce anti-social behaviour during the spring and summer months.

Any schools requiring further information about the “Equinox” package or to book a session, please contact one of the team’s neighbourhood fire community safety officers;

Charlie Fox- 07717513071 sfox@syfire.gov.uk

Helen Woodacre -07771972600 hwoodacre@syfire.gov.uk

John Lamming- 07776225782 jlamming@syfire.gov.uk

Joe McCreesh- 07741195041 jmccreesh@syfire.gov.uk

The joint community safety department brings together staff from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police to work together with the shared aim of keeping people safe. High profile activities the teams currently undertake include home safety checks, crime prevention visits and youth engagement activities such as the award-winning Princes Trust Team Programme, which has helped to transform the lives of more than 250 young people in two years.

The team also operates the Lifewise Centre which is an interactive safety centre in Hellaby, Rotherham. It opened in 2011 to deliver education packages to more than 20,000 local people every year, including nearly every Year 6 pupil in South Yorkshire.

The Policing & Crime Act 2017 placed a new statutory duty on all three emergency services to look at opportunities to work with one another better to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Launch of new Neighbourhood Fire Community Safety Officers

Earlier this month four new Neighbourhood Fire Community Safety Officers joined the Joint Community Safety Department to work collaboratively with partners and assist in delivering fire safety and crime prevention advice to our local communities.

The Neighbourhood Fire Community Safety Officers (NFCSO), who will work jointly across South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, as part of the collaboration programme between the organisations, will spend time co-located in the neighbourhood hubs, addressing local issues and reducing demand.

The new roles, funded by the Fire Authority’s Stronger and Safer Community Reserves (SSCR), will see the officers working with our local authority partners over the next three years to enhance and embed the work of the Community Safety Department through early intervention and effective problem solving approaches.

The specifics of this work will include identifying opportunities to work directly with members of the community to highlight the dangers of fires, provide support to vulnerable members of the community and raising awareness of the different services provided by the Joint Community Safety Department.

The officers will also work closely with representatives from Barnsley, Doncaster, Sheffield and Rotherham Councils, partner agencies, local community groups, and colleagues in emergency response roles, to embed multi-agency working, improve the services provided to our communities and reduce anti-social behaviour across South Yorkshire.

Head of the Joint Community Safety Department, Steve Helps, comments on the introduction of the new roles, “Our NFCSOs will be instrumental in providing support to vulnerable members of our local communities and in offering our services to those individuals we consider to be most at need.

“These officers will help us to do even more to reduce demand and better protect the communities we serve, allowing us to become even more targeted in what we do and the people we engage with.”

Matt Gillatt, Community Safety Department station manager, has also commented on the positive impact the new roles will have, “By working directly in the neighbourhood hubs, the new officers with be able to work in partnership with police and fire colleagues to target intervention activities in areas with high levels of reported anti-social behaviour and raise awareness of the dangers of arson.

“It will also allow them to work more closely with local councillors to provide assistance to vulnerable members of our communities and create closer links between fire crews and neighbourhood police officers, in order to improve the services we provide.”

This work forms part of the wider successful collaborative programme between South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, which launched in early 2017 to build on existing activities undertaken in collaboration between both organisations. The work within the programme has already led to the creation of a Joint Police and Fire Station in Maltby, Rotherham, the development of a Joint Community Safety Department and the appointment of a Head of Joint Estates and Facilities Management.

Sheffield hoarding support cutting fire risk thanks to service funding

People who hoard are being helped to change their habits, thanks to the fire service funded work of a Sheffield mental health charity.

Sheffield Mind’s ‘Magpies’ project is part way through a two year mission to support people who hoard under a scheme paid for under money set aside from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s reserves.

Specially trained support workers meet with people for weekly one-to-one sessions where they discuss their lifestyles, the possible reasons behind their hoarding histories and ways they could change their behaviour.

A training exchange sees the charity offer mental health awareness training to fire service staff how to spot the signs of hoarding, whilst the fire service have trained Sheffield mind staff in basic fire prevention advice. A self-help support group is also attended by more than a dozen people with hoarding issues each month.

The project only has capacity to work with up to 10 people one-to-one at any given time, but is starting to have a big impact on those it is designed to help.

Its clients include ‘Mandy’ who has limited mobility and has hoarded items for several years after leaving an abusive relationship. Mandy’s home was severely cluttered, with whole rooms inaccessible and escape routes and corridors blocked- putting her at greater risk in the event that a fire did start in her home. But by working with Mandy over a period of several months, support workers have helped her to sort through her belongings and to make decisions to let them go, significantly reducing the fire risk hazard and making more space in her home.

Sheffield Mind Head of Operations, Rob Horsley, said: “Hoarding behaviours are a very complex issue which are about far more than someone simply collecting large quantities of things over a long period of time- often it is linked to other, significant life events or mental health difficulties and requires a considered, thoughtful approach to address. We’re pleased that the work we are doing is starting to have a tangible impact on people’s safety from fire.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Area Manager Steve Helps said: “We know there are some common factors involved in nearly all of our most serious fires, which is why our focus in recent years has been on targeting our prevention work at those who are at greatest risk. Our work with Sheffield Mind is a really good example of this as, although the number of people the project supports is quite small, the impact on their safety is huge.”

The project was awarded £88,000 under the Stronger Safer Communities Reserve. The fund is a Fire Authority scheme which reinvests money into local communities to support our work to prevent emergencies. The money has been set aside from the Authority’s reserves.

Have your say on our equality and inclusion work

We’ve drafted a strategy to help guide our equality, diversity and inclusion work over the next four years.

We know that the strongest and most effective teams are built in a workplace where everyone feels valued and respected. This helps us to deliver inclusive services, ultimately keeping our communities safer.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is also at the heart of our service and how we engage our communities. They drive our purpose of providing effective services that meet local needs and help make our workforce truly representative of the communities we serve.

We really want members of the public to share their views on our Equality Diversity & Inclusion Strategy including our five priorities for this work which are:

  1. Improving diversity
  2. Inclusive culture
  3. Fair treatment
  4. Inclusive services
  5. Engaging communities

You can have your say on our draft strategy here

Fire HIIT Games and open day

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is proud to be holding the inaugural Fire HIIT Games along with the Dearne station open day.

4 May 2019 at Dearne fire station, Manvers Way, Rotherham S63 5DN

Fire HIIT Games

Events will range from hose dead lifts, ladder presses, casualty carries and tyre flips.  Each competitor will be timed with the fastest total being announced the winners.

All profits raised will go to The Fire Fighters Charity.

The event is open to everyone, not just fire service personnel.

For further information or to register for the event email nabbott@syfire.gov.uk (please note only registered competitors will be able to compete on the day).

Open day

While the above event is taking place Dearne fire station will be holding their annual open day running along side the Fire HIIT Games.

The open day will start from 10am and will include:

  • Children’s funfair rides
  • Road traffic collision and rope rescue demonstrations
  • Community Safety team giving out free fire safety advice
  • Safer Roads Partnership offer road safety advice
  • Aeriel Artist performing in the training building and giving out lessons
  • Vehicles from the Fire Service Museum
  • Refreshments

Please note that there is limited parking on site.

Hundreds made safer thanks to fire-funded sprinkler project

Some of the most vulnerable people in Barnsley are now safer than ever in their homes, thanks to sprinklers that have been part-funded by the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority.

In total 163 flats have been fitted with the life-saving devices across six independent living complexes – all of which are run by Berneslai Homes.

The housing provider was awarded £240,000 from the Fire Authority’s sprinkler fund to match fund the project – which now means 200 more people have the highest level of fire protection available.

A number of personal protection systems and kitchen suppression units – which detect and extinguish fires with a fine water mist – have also been match funded by the Authority.

The purchasing of these extra devices, which will be installed in certain homes where tenants are identified as extremely vulnerable, demonstrates the service’s commitment to safeguarding the most vulnerable in South Yorkshire.

“Sprinklers are a reliable and cost-effective way of stopping fires from growing and spreading,” said South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s sprinkler advocate, Roger Brason.

“In most cases, they actually put them out completely, so we’re really pleased that all of these homes have had them installed and even more pleased that we’ve been able to help provide some personal protection systems to help safeguard the most vulnerable.”

The sprinklers were fitted within the following independent living complexes:

  • Church Street Close, Thurnscoe
  • Hudson Haven, Wombwell
  • King Street Flats, Barnsley
  • Pendon House, Penistone
  • Saville Court, Hoyland
  • Shipcroft, Wombwell

Berneslai Homes’ Fire Safety Officer, Kerry Storrar, added: “Thank you to South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority for their funding to fit these life saving devices.

“The sprinklers give our tenants the highest level of protection and over the coming year we’re hoping to fit sprinklers in other buildings.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s sprinkler fund forms part of the Stronger Safer Communities Reserve that is made up of money set aside from the Authority’s reserves.

More information is available on www.syfire.gov.uk/business-advice/sprinklers-2/.

New Deputy Fire Chief for South Yorkshire

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

Alex Johnson was appointed following a selection process which included a written application, operational assessment and panel interview with members of the Fire Authority.

Alex had been fulfilling the role on a temporary basis since January, having joined South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue as Assistant Chief Fire Officer in 2017. She’d previously served with Derbyshire Fire & Rescue for more than 25 years, having joined as a firefighter in 1992.

Fire Authority Chair Cllr Chris Lamb, said: “Alex was an incredibly impressive candidate whose passion for the job and hunger to continually improve the service and its culture really shone through. We really look forward to working with her in her new role.”

Alex said: “I’m really excited to be in a position to continue leading the development of the service, backed by a brilliant team of exceptionally talented firefighters and support staff who are proud of the part they play in making South Yorkshire a safer and stronger place to live and work.”