South Yorkshire firefighters will be practicing new procedures for responding to fires in high-rise blocks of flats, as part of work to adopt learning from incidents in tall buildings.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is carrying out multiple training exercises in each of the county’s four districts in the coming months.
The practical, live training will particularly focus on changes to evacuation procedures when fire compartmentation in tall buildings fails.
It will also help firefighters to further familiarise themselves with the lay outs and different risks presented by fires in tall buildings.
College students will perform the role of residents, to make the training as realistic as possible.
Area Manager Cath Toovey, said: “There have been some significant changes in guidance to the way all fire and rescue services respond to fires in tall buildings following national reviews and particularly as a result of the ongoing Grenfell Tower inquiry. It’s really important that we reflect on these changes as a service as ensure our frontline crews are aware of them.”
The exercises will take place at Albion, Buckley and Brittania Houses in Barnsley, Shaftesbury House in Doncaster, Beeversleigh in Rotherham and Keating Block, Leverton Gardens in Sheffield. The buildings have been chosen because of their suitability for the training- not because they are at any greater risk of fire.
Residents in the flats where the training is taking place have already been told the training is taking place.
“Whilst classroom and online training can be effective at explaining theoretical changes to our firefighters and incident commanders, there’s really no replacement for carrying out live, practical exercises like these. We’re particularly grateful to the residents in the buildings for their patience as we plan and deliver these exercises, and to the colleges, local authorities and housing associations for working with us the make the training as realistic and effective as possible. Community safety staff will also be on hand to give home fire safety advice to residents I requested”, said Cath.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has established a dedicated team to implement actions from the Grenfell Tower disaster.
The service announced last year that its Business Fire Safety inspectors had completed a Government-backed project to carry out safety reviews of all high-rise residential buildings in the county.