Grass fire warning during hot weather

Fire crews are warning the public to take extra care during this period of hot weather to avoid any accidental grass fires.

During hot and dry weather the risk of grass fires increases, but following a few simple steps can greatly reduce the chance of a fire starting.

Fire officers are asking people to help prevent grass fires by:

• Not using open fires in the countryside

• Making sure any barbecue or disposable barbecue is only used in a suitable location and is extinguished properly after use

• Extinguishing cigarettes completely and not throwing cigarette ends on the ground

• Not leaving bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires

Fire crews want their resources available to protect the communities of South Yorkshire, incidents involving accidental grass fires can use up a lot of these vital resources.

Throwline stations unveiled in Rotherham

A throwline station has been unveiled next to a Rotherham canal.

The potentially life saving equipment has been installed close to the spot where a schoolboy drowned in 2016 and has been funded by Parkgate Shopping.

More than 20 throwline stations have been installed at open water sites across South Yorkshire in the last two years, including Doncaster Lakeside, Ulley Reservoir and Thrybergh Country Park. The lifelines have all been installed by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue working in conjunction with local partners.

The specially designed equipment contains throwlines which are stored securely to avoid vandalism, with an access code given to callers by 999 operators in the event of an emergency.

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.

Cooking safety advice during Ramadan

The fire service is calling on South Yorkshire’s Muslim communities to take extra care ahead of one of the most important periods in the Islamic calendar.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue fears people are more likely to be at risk of fire during Ramadan, which began on 15 May.

Ramadan lasts for 30 days and is observed by fasting during daylight hours, with cooking taking place before sunrise or after sunset.

Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “We recognise this is a really important time in the Islamic calendar, but want to make sure people observe it safely. In particular, people should take extra care to keep an eye on their cooking, as fasting could leave you feeling tired and more likely to become distracted or have an accident.

“Smoke alarms are the best way of making sure that if a fire does occur, you have the vital extra minutes to escape. So make sure smoke alarms are fitted on every level of your home and test them regularly.

“It’s also vital that if the smoke alarms do sound, everyone in the house knows what to do and knows how to escape, so talk this through with your family and loved ones.”

Top tips for staying safe during Ramadan include:

  • Cooking– Half of all house fires start in the kitchen, so take extra care when cooking, particularly with hot oil – it sets alight easily
  • Never throw water on a burning pan– in the event of a fire get out, stay out and call 999
  • Take extra care with clothing– make sure hijaabs, shalwar, kameez and saris are kept well away from the hob
  • Practise escape routes– and make sure every member of your family knows it well
  • Have a working smoke alarm on every floor of your home– test them weekly to make sure they work.

Importance of having the right smoke alarms for people who are deaf or hard of hearing highlighted during awareness week

We are supporting Deaf Awareness Week by highlighting the importance of having the right smoke alarms for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

It’s essential that people who are deaf or hard of hearing have the right smoke alarms in their homes and ensure they can contact 999 in an emergency.  Some people may need additional equipment to make them aware the smoke alarm has been activated.  SYFR offers free Home Safety Checks (HSC’s) to people who people who are deaf or hard of hearing; during our visit Community Safety staff will assess the need for a specialist alarm and offer advice about keeping safe at home.

SYFR has introduced a Text line for deaf and hard of hearing communities to book a HSC.

To book a HSC please text 07776 225 696

  • Start your text with ‘HSC’
  • Your name
  • Your full address

If you have concerns that a friend or relative may not be able to hear their smoke alarms, please call: 01114 253 2314 or visit www.syfire.gov.uk to book a visit.

SYFR also urge people who are unable to make a voice call to 999 to register their mobile phones with the emergency SMS service. This allows them to text an emergency call to any of the UK’s emergency services.

To do this they should text ‘register’ to 999 and then follow the instructions received. Or for further information visit www.emergencysms.org.uk

Once registered the person can make an emergency call by sending a text to 999.

Water safety warning ahead of bank holiday weekend

Firefighters are urging the public not to swim in lakes and reservoirs this weekend, with warm sunny days forecast for South Yorkshire.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it attends dozens of water related incidents each year. Most are flooding or animal related, but others involve rescuing people from open water- particularly during hot weather.

Safety officers say people should avoid open water- like rivers and lakes- because they may not always be aware of the danger it poses. River flows can be unpredictable and water is often deeper, colder and faster than expected. People should enjoy water safely in swimming pools or safer, specialist facilities instead.

Area Manager Steve Helps, 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.”

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, 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

Press to test. Monthly is best

South Yorkshire fire officers are backing a national campaign to get more people to test their smoke alarms. 

The campaign, which will run from 12 March to 6 April 2018, will remind people that having working smoke alarms can save their life in the event of a fire in the home, and will encourage people to test their smoke alarms now and then regularly on a monthly basis. Messages will be promoted on the radio, online and on social media platforms.

As part of the national advertising campaign, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is encouraging people in South Yorkshire to test the smoke alarms in their home (and those vulnerable friends/relatives), and if not yet done, purchase and install smoke alarms at every level of the home.

Smoke alarms can give someone the few extra seconds they need to escape in a fire. While the majority of homes across the country now have an alarm fitted, most people are not aware that the average alarm has a lifespan of just ten years and then needs replacing.

A single smoke alarm may simply not be enough. The recommendation is at least one at every level, but to ensure you can hear them throughout your home, particularly when asleep.  Last year, in nearly half of all fires in the home where the smoke alarm did not give a warning the reason was that the alarm was not close enough to detect the fire.  Missing or flat batteries were another major cause.

Steve Helps, Head of Prevention and Protection said; “We know that smoke alarms saves lives. Analysis suggests you are at least eight times more likely to die in a fire in the home if you do not have any working smoke alarms”.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is asking people to make sure that their alarms are up to date and up to the job.

To keep your alarms in working order:

  • Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home;
  • Test your smoke alarms by pushing the button every month;
  • Check that your smoke alarms are less than 10 years old;
  • Fit smoke alarms on landings and hallways and near or in bedrooms.  Also consider in rooms which have electrical appliances – e.g. a heater or charger – or other fire risks;
  • Don’t put alarms in or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident.
  • Replace your smoke alarms every ten years
  • Take a moment to check on your loved ones who may need help to test their smoke alarms to ensure they’re fully protected.

Steve Helps said; “For most of us, there is nothing more important than keeping our loved ones safe and secure. So if your alarm is getting past its best or your top floor is missing an alarm of its own, fit new ones, test them on the first of every month and protect your loved ones at all times”

“Press to test, monthly is best”

‘Go to a display’ safety plea as bonfire night approaches

The fire service is repeating its annual safety call as thousands of people in South Yorkshire prepare to mark bonfire night.

Though the fireworks period is traditionally one of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s busiest, call outs to small, deliberate fires on November 5 have fallen steadily in recent years.

Fire service managers hope that by continuing to work with partners to educate youngsters and reduce call outs the public will remain safe.

In the run up to bonfire night, fire service staff have been issuing safety advice and leaflets to residents about firework safety, as well as reminding retailers not to sell fireworks to under 18s.

Officers have also been assisting with the removal of waste which could be used to light illegal bonfires and have been working closely with local trading standards to cut out illegal fireworks sales.

Young people are being encouraged to attend a number of free activities which are being put on by partner agencies across the county.

Trevor Bernard, head of community safety, said: “The best way to enjoy bonfire night is to attend an organised display. The bonfires are bigger, the fireworks are better and they are a lot safer.

“If you are intent on holding your own display, the advice is simple. Only buy British Standard marked fireworks, follow the instructions on the box and site any bonfires well away from buildings.”

The fire service’s top three tips for staying safe this bonfire night are:

  1. Attend organised displays – they’re much safer than holding your own
  2. Only buy fireworks from reputable retailers and never from people on the street
  3. Light bonfires well away from sheds, fences, bushes and trees

 

Fire bosses call on students to ditch door wedges as part of national safety week

Fire safety bosses are calling on Sheffield’s students to ditch door wedges and use a packet of biscuits instead to make friends.

The safety plea comes during Student Fire Safety Week (23 to 29 October) as experts fear the city’s new arrivals could be tempted to wedge open fire doors which are meant to keep them safe in the event of a major blaze.

Whilst it can be tempting to prop open doors during the first weeks of term to make new friends, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue business fire safety officers say fire doors in large, student accommodation blocks are there for a reason.

Business Fire Safety Manager Amy Jenkinson, said: “Fire doors are a crucial part of the passive fire protection of every commercial, public and multiple occupancy building. They save lives and property and should never be propped open. They are designed to stop a fire spreading as fast, which is especially important in accommodation like student complexes where multiple people live.

“We’re aware door wedges are often used in student accommodation blocks to promote friendship, but suggest that there are safer and more effective ways of making new friends- from a cup of tea and a packet of biscuits, to sharing some music or a film.”

Other tips for students to keep them safe from fire include:

  • Don’t cook under the influence of alcohol- buy a takeaway after a night out instead
  • Switch off electrical appliances like mobile chargers, laptops and hair straighteners when not in use
  • Plan and practice an escape route with your house mates. In the event of a fire- get out, stay out and dial 999

Sprinklers save Rotherham supermarket from fire

Fire officers are repeating calls for businesses to fit sprinklers, after the devices saved a Rotherham supermarket from suffering a serious blaze.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue firefighters attended the incident at Asda Rotherham, Aldwarke Lane in July after a fryer caught fire in the cafe.

But the fire was already out when crews from Rotherham and Dearne stations arrived, there was virtually no fire or water damage and the store was quickly reopened- all thanks to sprinklers which had been fitted to suppress the fire.

Business Fire Safety Manager Amy Jenkinson, said: “The fire suppression systems installed by Asda were sophisticated, worked effectively and completely extinguished the fire. There is no doubt that having sprinkler systems like this in place can save businesses massive amounts of time and money by limiting losses of stock and custom in the event that a fire does occur.”

Sprinklers are the most effective way of ensuring that fires are suppressed or even extinguished before the fire service can arrive. They save lives and reduce injuries, protect firefighters who attend incidents and reduce the amount of damage to both property and the environment from fire.

Currently, only commercial premises greater than 20,000m2 must have sprinkler systems installed.

SYFR adopted a position statement last year which specifically advocated the use of sprinklers and other fire suppression systems in non-domestic premises and high-risk residential settings.

For more information, visit http://www.syfire.gov.uk/business-advice

Water safety warning following temperature rise

Following the recent hot snap, firefighters are urging the public not to swim in lakes and reservoirs.

River flows can be unpredictable and water is often deeper, colder and faster than expected. People should enjoy water safely in swimming pools or safer specialist facilities instead, officers warn.

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