South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Fire service launches Christmas number one bid with Everly Pregnant chip pan hit

South Yorkshire firefighters have joined forces with one of Sheffield’s best loved bands in a musical match up set to take the Christmas charts by storm.

Firefighters and 999 operators at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Central fire station have teamed up with The Everly Pregnant Brothers to release one of the group’s most popular hits- ‘Chip Pan’.

Bookmakers William Hill think the audacious tilt at the festive charts is more than just a flash in the pan- with odds of 50-1 better than those offered on multi-million selling artists Adele, Rihanna and Coldplay.

Good causes will also benefit from the assault on the yuletide top spot, with cash raised from sales of the single going to charities Shelter and Age UK.

Fire officers hope the tongue-in-cheek reworking of a popular chart hit will raise public awareness of one of their biggest house fire headaches- chip pan blazes caused by a night on the tiles drinking.

But they also want the track to remind people of the tens of thousands of firefighters who will be on duty this Christmas, whilst the rest of us our tucking into our turkeys.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden, said: “This record is clearly a bit of festive fun, but with chip pans still responsible for large numbers of house fires every year, we think there’s a safety message in there somewhere.

“We also want to remind people that tens of thousands of firefighters and 999 operators- not to mention many more of their colleagues in the emergency services- will be on duty this Christmas keeping people safe.

“It’s all for a good cause, with every penny the band makes going to support older and homeless people, which is very much part of the fire service’s ethos of helping the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

Pete McKee, said: “It was an absolute honour to get the involvement of the fire brigade and red watch. We always thought it would be great to get the fire service involved with Chip Pan. It’s our public information advertisement for the late night reveller with a yearning for some end of night snap!”

Fellow band member Shaun Doane, said: “Like most things with the Everly Pregnant Brothers, this started as something small, a tweet in fact, and it’s grown and mutated into something pretty cool. Hopefully we can help raise a few quid for two great causes.”

The Everly Pregnant Brothers kick off their number one campaign with a gig at Sheffield’s O2 Academy this weekend- where they will be joined on stage by Central red watch firefighters, who starred in the video.

The band was formed in 2009 by renowned artist Pete McKee and ukulele player Richard Bailey. Their songs are soaked in Sheffield humour and mix the unmistakable sounds of ukuleles and beer barrels.

The ‘Chip Pan’ track is available to pre-order on iTunes, Google Play Music, Amazon, Spotify and Deezer. But to give the song the best chance of reaching number one when the official Christmas chart is released, the public are asked to only download the song after 16 December.

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Fire Kills campaign urges us all to test the smoke alarms in our homes now and every month

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR), as part of the Fire Kills Campaign, is urging people to test their smoke alarms after research showed that only 28% of all households who own one test them on a regular basis.

Head of Prevention and Protection Steve Helps of SYFR said: “You’re at least seven times more likely to die in a fire if you don’t have any working smoke alarms.  However, only 28% of the people who own an alarm say they take the time to test it at least monthly.”

There were 229 fire-related deaths in the home last year. The Fire Kills campaign hopes that by encouraging everyone to test their smoke alarms more deaths could be prevented.

Steve Helps added, “I’d encourage people in South Yorkshire to make sure you test your smoke alarms today and get into the habit of testing them each month as they can save you and your family’s life.  In the event of a fire, working smoke alarms will give you the valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.”

The campaign is running for one month across outdoor, print, digital, social media and radio to raise awareness during the winter months when there is an increase in fire-related incidents and deaths.

To help keep you and your loved ones safe, SYFR offers these simple steps:

  • Test your smoke alarms now or when you get home
  • Make sure you fit smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly, even if they’re wired into the mains.
  • Whatever happens, never remove the batteries in your smoke alarms unless you are replacing them. Some require new batteries every year.
  • Plan and practise an escape route and make sure that everyone in your home knows it.
  • In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Test others smoke alarms who are unable to test their own

For more information visit www.gov.uk/firekills

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Campaign to curb kitchen blazes kicks off

A major new campaign to curb kitchen blazes has been launched, as the fire service reveals it’s tackled nearly 1,000 cooking related incidents in the last three years.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it has attended 925 house fires caused by cooking since 2013, resulting in more than 200 injuries and two deaths.

Most of the blazes are caused by cooking that’s been left unattended, chip pans that overheat or dirty ovens that ignite due to a build up of fat and grease.

Factors contributing to the fires also include alcohol, drugs and mental health issues, including dementia.

Head of prevention and protection Steve Helps, said: “The cooking fires we go to range from burnt toast to serious blazes which gut houses and destroy lives. But what all these incidents have in common is that they are nearly always entirely preventable.

“Whether it’s remembering to keep an eye on your cooking, giving your oven a good scrub or buying a takeaway after a night out, rather than attempting to cook, this campaign is all about asking residents to take some simple steps to protect themselves and those they love.”

The fire service has issued the following advice to cut kitchen fires:

  • Clean out ovens and grill pans regularly to avoid a build up of fat and grease
  • Ditch old fashioned chip pans, use oven chips or thermostat controlled fryers instead
  • Don’t attempt to cook if you’ve been out drinking, buy a takeaway instead

For more information on preventing fires, visit www.syfire.gov.uk

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Smoke alarms missing in a third of fatal fires

Smoke alarms were missing in a third of fatal fires in Yorkshire, a new academic study has found.

It’s prompted a fresh plea from fire chiefs for people to fit the potentially life saving devices and to test them regularly.

The startling statistic is amongst several findings in what is thought to be the largest report into fatal fires in Yorkshire ever published

In the last five years, 133 people have died in house fires in Yorkshire and Humber.

Other findings in the report, led by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) with support from the three other Yorkshire and Humber fire and rescue services, include:

  • Early evening is the deadliest time of the day for fatal fires
  • Nearly a third (37) of all fire deaths were the result of arson
  • Smoking is Yorkshire’s biggest killer in accidental fires, causing nearly half (45%) of fatal blazes
  • Men are almost twice as likely to die in house fires as women
  • An accidental, fatal fire is more likely to start in the living room than any other room in the house

SYFR Assistant Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden, said: “It’s shocking that after decades of national and local advertising campaigns and fire services fitting hundreds of thousands of smoke alarms in people’s homes for free, people are still dying in house fires in Yorkshire where smoke alarms were not present.

“Our message to the public could not be clearer- fit smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them regularly.”

Officers hope the research, compiled by forensic science student Victoria Moss, will help fire and rescue services to better understand the causes of fatal fires and ways to prevent them.

Victoria has been on a year long work placement with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, in a unique partnership with Nottingham Trent University, which offers one of the country’s most respected forensic science degrees.

The research is now expected to be extended nationally, with backing from the Chief Fire Officer’s Association (CFOA).

“This study finally disproves popular public myths around house fires, including the idea that most fire deaths happen at night. In fact, this research has found that tea time is the deadliest time of the day.

“Findings like this are invaluable in helping us to better target the safety advice we give to members of the public. Fatal fires have dropped dramatically this century both in South Yorkshire and across the UK thanks to the work we are already doing to make local communities safer. But every single incident is someone’s death and someone’s personal tragedy.

“By working together and sharing knowledge and information with our neighbouring fire and rescue services, we hope to reduce the number of people who have to experience such loss even further,” said Martin.

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Water safety plea ahead of school summer holidays

Firefighters are urging children not to swim in lakes and reservoirs ahead of the school summer holidays.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it has attended 282 water related incidents since 2012. Most were flooding or animal related, but 49 incidents involved rescuing people from open water. People died in three of those incidents.

Safety officers say children and young 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.

Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “We regularly receive 999 calls in the summer about children and young 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
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Fire service funded stop motion film helping to make high risk adults safer

A Doncaster community scheme has used fire service funding to create a stop-motion animation video to make the lives of vulnerable adults safer.

‘Breaking Beats’ partnered with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue to deliver a safety campaign with residents of Quarryfields- a social housing scheme for people with learning difficulties in Balby, Doncaster.

The 18 week scheme allowed adults with learning difficulties to improve their knowledge fire safety through stop-motion animation. Service users created a video that highlighted fire prevention advice, and were involved in all aspects of the stop motion process, from set building and manipulation of characters to editing and narration.

Breaking Beats aims to work with disabled people by looking at developing important life skills such as confidence, teamwork and self-esteem, helping disabled people learn new skills and trying to give them a higher quality of life.

The scheme was awarded nearly £7500 under the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s funding scheme, Stronger Safer Communities Reserve.

SYFR Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “This has been a fantastic project and exactly the sort of venture the Stronger Safer Communities Reserve is in place to support. It has allowed us to engage with and deliver a safety message to a group of people that we may not have been able to reach through our current channels. The participants in this scheme have thoroughly enjoyed themselves and have been offered a wealth of opportunities through a variety of activities. We are proud to be able to facilitate projects like these which have such a huge impact on our communities.”

The Stronger Safer Communities Reserve saw dozens of registered charities, community organisations and partner agencies come forward and apply for grants from the £2 million fund, which had been set aside from the Authority’s reserves. Groups were able to bid for as little as £5,000 or as much as £150,000 to support projects which reduce injuries, save lives and make South Yorkshire safer.

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White goods countdown reveals most common house fire culprits

Firefighters have released a countdown of the ten faulty ‘white goods’ responsible for the most house fires in South Yorkshire.

The figures from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue are being used to highlight a growth in the number of blazes caused by electrical equipment, with tumble dryers and washing machines topping the list of causes.

Cookers, dishwashers and fridge freezers complete the top five, with large electrical items responsible for more than 200 incidents since 2011.

Last year a major product recall was issued and owners of large air-vented dryers and condensing dryers under the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands were told they may need to have them fixed.

Manufacturers are required by law to notify people if they know one of their products poses a fire risk and needs to be recalled. But millions of faulty products remain in people’s homes.

Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “Unfortunately, we can’t get round everyone’s home to check the safety of their electrics for them. But by raising awareness of the biggest safety issues. we hope we can give people the knowledge to check their own electrics and hopefully prevent a serious fire.

“For consumers, we know that returning a recalled product is not always convenient, especially if it’s an item that you use every day, but recall notices are issued to keep people safe. The small inconvenience of returning a recalled item is worth it when you consider that faulty products can electrocute or cause a fire.”

You can sign up for product recall information at www.registermyappliance.org.uk

Or for more information about the fire service’s electrical safety campaign watch our safety video

No. of call outs relating to fires involving white goods (1 January 2011 to 30 April 2016)

Tumble dryer 42

Washing machine 37

Cooker/oven 34

Dishwasher 28

Fridge/Freezer 24

Microwave oven 14

Grill/Toaster 12

Spin dryer 8

Other cooking appliance 7

Washer/Dryer combined 4

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E-cig safety warning after 12 blazes attended by fire service

Firefighters are warning the public about the potential dangers posed by e-cigarettes, after revealing they have tackled a dozen fires involving the devices in the last three years.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says until 2013 it hadn’t attended a single incident caused by e-cigs, but the number of fires involving vaping equipment has climbed ever since.

E-cigarettes are commonly charged via a computer USB port. Fire investigators think fires commonly start because the e-cigarette is left to charge too long, they are charged on or close to soft furnishings, or because the charger itself is faulty.

Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “Fires caused by e-cigarettes are an emerging trend which a few years ago simply did not exist. Whilst e-cigs may offer a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, they are so popular now we do need to make sure people know how charge them safely.

“The advice for e-cigs is really the same as for many smaller electrical appliances like mobile phones and laptops- don’t be tempted to buy cheap unbranded chargers, don’t leave them to charge whilst you are out of the house or asleep and keep them well away from flammable materials.”

Tips to prevent e-cigarette fires include:

  • charge the device on a flat, solid and stable surface, such as a kitchen worktop
  • keep the device away from flammable or combustible materials when charging
  • never leave the device on a bed or close to soft furnishings, or in a cluttered space
  • don’t exceed the recommended charging time, or leave unattended for any significant length of time

Fire officers say that whilst nearly every type of fire has reduced significantly during the last decade, thanks to safety visits and better awareness of risks, electrical incidents have stubbornly refused to drop.

Electricity is involved in about two thirds of all accidental house fires, with household appliances the most common culprits.

As part of a major campaign to reduce electrical fires, officers are encouraging people to check the safety of their home electrics by completing a short, online checklist at 13orbust.co.uk

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Fire service safety advice ahead of Islamic festival

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 begins on 7 June.

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.
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Business fire safety plea as enforcement action soars

The fire service is calling on South Yorkshire businesses to do more to learn about their responsibilities under safety laws, after reporting a steep rise in cases where the strongest form of enforcement action has been taken.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it has served 10 prohibition notices on businesses since April 2015, compared to just six in the whole of the previous two years.

Prohibition notices are served where an inspector considers that in the event of a fire the risk to people using a premises is so serious that use of the building should be prohibited or restricted.

The notice may stop the use of all or part of the premises immediately or after a specified time and not allow it to be used until action has been taken to correct the issue.

Continued use of the building is a criminal offence and can result in a prosecution under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Technical fire safety manager Amy Jenkinson, said: “Our aim is always to engage with local businesses in a positive way and to work with them to make improvements before we have to resort to closing part or all of a building, or resort to criminal prosecution.

“But the recent increase in the number of prohibition notices served is worrying and we’d urge business owners to take the time to learn about their responsibilities under fire safety legislation and complete a fire risk assessment to reduce the likelihood of suffering a serious incident which could put their business and their people in danger.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) has tackled more than 500 fires in non-domestic properties in the last three years.

Top safety tips for businesses include:

Keep fire escapes clear– make sure extra stock is stored away from fire escapes, ensuring staff and customers can get out safely in the event of a fire

Check alarm systems– regular checks and maintenance help to eliminate automatic false alarms and ensure the alarm is working if required

Complete a fire risk assessment– not only will it help to reduce the risk of suffering a fire in the first place, it will help make sure you comply with fire safety laws

Sprinklers– consider installing sprinklers as not only reduce death and injury from fire, but also protect property and heritage.

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