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Fire service details business continuity journey to global audience

A fire service emergency planning manager has delivered a major speech on business continuity to a global audience.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) business continuity manager Russ Parramore delivered a speech at the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) World Conference and Exhibition in London, which attracted more than 1,000 delegates from over 100 countries.

The presentation detailed how the fire service has developed its risk, resilience and business continuity arrangements throughout history.

In particular, Russ focussed on the introduction of the Fire and Rescue Service Act [2004] and the Civil Contingencies Act [2004, which created a new requirement for the fire service to have business continuity plans in place.

As a result of these laws, the presentation detailed how SYFR has developed its plans over the last decade to become of the world’s leading public service authorities on business continuity.

Russ Parramore said: “Business continuity is a hot topic for many large organisations, both public and private, as they seek to work out how they can limit the disruption to their staff and the people they serve after a catastrophic event, which could range from a simple power outage to severe staff shortages.

“The fire service has always been at the forefront of this sort of work and risk and resilience has been at the heart of what we do for hundreds of years.

“It’s a coup for South Yorkshire and for the fire sector as a whole that I was able to share my experiences with a global audience and to explain how business continuity has gone from being seen as a statutory duty that must be done, to something that is truly embedded across an entire organisation.”

For more information on business continuity, visit

South Yorkshire firefighters join Cumbria flood relief effort

South Yorkshire firefighters have taken their most powerful piece of pumping equipment to assist emergency services battling the flooding in Cumbria.

Six firefighters travelled to the flood hit county over the weekend, taking with them a High Volume Pump (HVP). A further team of firefighters will relieve them on Monday morning (7 December).

HVPs are capable of moving huge volumes of water, and South Yorkshire’s is capable of pumping 8,000 litres of water a minute. Its first deployment has been to pump flood water back into the River Derwent in Cockermouth.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s firefighters, most of whom are normally based at Aston Park fire station, are expected to remain in Cumbria for several days.

Head of Emergency Response Phil Shillito, said: “We are pleased to be able to offer practical and strategic support to our colleagues in Cumbria.”

“The High Volume Pump is an extremely powerful piece of kit and is ideally suited to helping to deal with the quantities of water we are talking about in Cumbria right now.

“To be part of such a massive relief effort is extremely rewarding for those involved and I would like to thank them on behalf of the people that they are assisting.”

Senior officers agreed to make their resources available following a request from the National Co-ordinating Centre, after ensuring they were satisfied with the fire and rescue provision which remains available for local people in South Yorkshire.

The fire service’s tradition of sharing national assets benefited communities in Doncaster in 2007, when more than 30 HVPs from all over the country helped to pump out flooded areas around Bentley and Toll Bar.

Fire station ‘memory cafe’ officially launched

A fire station based ‘memory cafe’ which aims to support the growing numbers of people in South Yorkshire who live with dementia has been officially launched.

Adwick fire station at Quarry Lane, Woodlands hosts the monthly memory cafe as part of a new partnership between South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and the Alzheimer’s Society.

The events, held once each month on a Thursday afternoon, provide an opportunity for people living with dementia and their carers to meet in a safe, managed environment and to take part in activities to promote mental and physical wellbeing, like games and health walks.

An Alzheimers Society Dementia Support Worker also attends each meeting to give information and support to carers.

Leaders including South Yorkshire Fire Authority Vice Chair Cllr Alan Atkin, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden and Integrated Dementia Lead for Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group Wayne Goddard were amongst those who attended the launch, alongside carers and their loved ones.

Officers believe the project will benefit the fire service by providing a vital link with one of its key target groups in terms of vulnerability to fire.

They think the partnership also highlights the growing role the fire service can play in promoting health and wellbeing in the communities it serves.

Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “In the last decade, the fire service has helped to make South Yorkshire safer than is has been at any time in its history in terms of house fires and fire related deaths and injuries.

“But we believe we can play a much wider role in terms of tackling some of the big health challenges our country faces in the future. This project is the perfect illustration of that aspiration, where fire service resources are helping to improve the lives of one of the most vulnerable groups in society.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is also a member of the Yorkshire & Humber Dementia Alliance, which is committed to tackling the growing issue of dementia within our communities.

Hundreds of its staff have also signed up to become Dementia Friends- a Government backed initiative which teaches people a little bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia, and then turns that understanding into action.

Paul Harrison, Alzheimer’s Society Operations Manager for South Yorkshire ,said: “We are delighted to enter into this partnership with the fire service and are grateful to them for hosting the Memory Café in their premises – it is certainly one of our more unusual locations.

“Alzheimer’s Society research has shown that people living with dementia thrive better if they can continue to live in their own homes for as long as possible, but they can be very vulnerable to risks in the home including fire. Working with the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is a vital part of creating supportive dementia friendly communities and improving both safety and wellbeing of people living with dementia and their carers in the area.”

Integrated Dementia Lead for Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group Wayne Goddard, said: “This is a great initiative on so many levels; firstly as 50% of deaths caused by fire involve older people and dementia is mainly concerned with older people, this dementia café not only brings people, partners and communities together for support but actually helps Doncaster with its prevention agenda.

“People with dementia and their carers tell me the café is great and they love coming and it almost feels ‘more normal’ so the arrangement also helps with stigma which can often be a barrier for people living normal lives. I have nothing but praise for the partnership and hopefully we can expand this model to Doncaster’s other stations.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has community rooms available at many of its fire stations across the county which are available to use, free of charge, to a variety of charities and community organisations.

For more information click here

Fire service training exercise to test response to major incidents in South Yorkshire

Emergency services from across the region will test procedures for dealing with multiple ‘major incidents’ in South Yorkshire.

‘Exercise Keep Valley’ will simulate the decontamination of people who have been covered in poisonous chemicals as part of a suspected terrorist attack.

The main activity will take place at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium- but another major incident simulated elsewhere in the county will test how fire services respond to more than one large scale event.

The exercise will involve staff and vehicles from all four fire and rescue services in Yorkshire & Humber, plus other partner agencies, to test the arrangements those organisations already have in place for supporting each other across traditional county borders.

The ‘incident’ will include the deployment of the fire service’s Detection, Identification and Monitoring  and Mass Decontamination vehicles which carries showers-tents and emergency clothing.

A small area around the Keepmoat Stadium will be closed to the public so the specialist equipment can be deployed.

SYFR Group Manager Andy Hayter said: “Although it is extremely unlikely that an incident such as this would occur in South Yorkshire, recent international events have once again highlighted the importance of public organisations testing their emergency response procedures to assure the safety of the communities we serve.

“Routine exercises like this one enable the emergency services and other organisations to practice their responses and, for fire services in particular, to test their ability to deploy to large scale incidents beyond their usual borders.”

Planning permission for shared police and fire station in Maltby

Planners have approved proposals for a joint police and fire station in Maltby.

Maltby fire station will close and Maltby police station will be modified to accommodate fire service vehicles and staff, under the plans approved by Rotherham Council.

The project won Government Transformation Funding of £560,000 last year and will help save both South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue money by sharing building running costs, enabling funding to be targeted at frontline services.

The move will shift fire service resources around a mile closer to the east side of Rotherham, which traditionally accounts for a greater volume of emergency incidents compared to lower risk areas to the east of Maltby.

It will also improve services by making it easier for police and firefighters to share knowledge, skills and expertise when tackling common issues, like anti-social behaviour and road traffic collisions. In a similar way, it will also help both organisations to reach the most vulnerable members of the community.

SYFR Director of Finance & Resources Beverley Sandy, said: “This move makes perfect sense for us, for the police and for the taxpayer. Instead of having two public buildings, and all the running costs associated with them, we will be able to combine our resources into one facility to provide a more efficient frontline service.

“By working alongside each other under one roof, the move will also benefit both organisations by improving how we work together to solve problems we both face, which can only help to improve the quality of the service we offer to local people.”

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “We are constantly looking for ways in which to work in collaboration with partners and implement efficiency savings. I welcome this move to bring both emergency services together to serve the community of Maltby.”

Kier has been appointed as the main contractor for the project and the final specification will be submitted to the Fire Authority in January, with a view to the new facility opening in later in 2016.

Maltby fire station on High Street is currently home to one full time fire engine. Work to begin making the necessary changes to Maltby police station on Byford Road is expected to begin in the New Year, with a view to the new facility opening in summer 2016.

Fire Service volunteer wins community award

Community Achievement Awards winners announced

Rotherham salutes volunteer and community groups at moving ceremony

The wide-reaching impact of Rotherham’s Voluntary and Community Sector was recognised at Friday’s twelfth annual Community Achievement Awards, where individual and group winners in three categories were announced in an emotional ceremony compered by Michael Kilby-Scott from Rother FM.

Julia Bodorova collected the award for Young Volunteer, sponsored by Morthyng Group Ltd and open to under 25’s. Julia volunteers for RMAARI and has been instrumental in the development of the girls’ football team as well as volunteering for youth club sessions, Ministry of Food cooking lessons and interpreting and translating for participants. Other Young Volunteer finalists were Toni Paxford who volunteers for Rotherham Youth Cabinet, dedicating her time to campaigns such as mental health, Votes at 16 and the Living Wage. The third finalist was Emily Taylor who is a Community First Responder, attending life threatening emergencies in her local area. Carole Haywood, Manager of the Rotherham Partnership and Chris MacCormac, Chief Executive, Morthyng Group Ltd presented the awards.

The 2015 Volunteer award, which was sponsored by Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, was scooped by Phil Bowers, a Community Safety Volunteer with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue carrying out home safety checks and fitting fire alarms in Rotherham. Other volunteers shortlisted for the final nominations included Brian Button the Chair of Active Independence who provides support to disabled people, older people, their carers and families. Cath McCartan was the other finalist. Cath is a volunteer and steering group member for the Big Local in Thurcroft, a partnership of local residents making Thurcroft a better place to live. The awards were presented by Andrew Mosley, Editor at Rotherham Advertiser and Paul Jagger, President at Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce.

In the Project category, sponsored by Irwin Mitchell, the winner was Tassibee, which provides support to isolated and socially excluded Asian women. Other finalists in the category were Environmentalist Litter Pickers who are a group of children keeping the Abbey Reach estate in Maltby litter free and Rotherham Dementia Action Alliance who aim to create dementia friendly work and public space. The awards were presented by Carole Haywood, Manager of the Rotherham Partnership and Alison Gregory and Katy Bailey from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors.

This year a Special Recognition Award, sponsored by Age UK Rotherham, was also presented to Edna Bateman who volunteers at Rotherham Hospice Charity shop. At 99 years young Edna has volunteered for the last 18 years, liking to keep busy and active. The award was presented by the Mayor, Cllr Maggi Clark and Lesley Dabell, Chief Executive at Age UK Rotherham.

The evening was rounded off with a selection of songs from the Rotherham Teachers’ Student Academy. The talented youngsters entertaining the audience were Charlotte Hucknall, Isabel Canning and Matt Roddis.

Organised by Voluntary Action Rotherham on behalf of Rotherham Partnership, the Community Achievement Awards were staged at the Carlton Park Hotel.


Voluntary Action Rotherham is a registered Charity and provides advice and support services to voluntary and community sector groups and organisations across Rotherham.

The Community Achievement Awards are held annually to celebrate the work of individuals and projects in the voluntary and community sector that have made a significant difference to the communities of Rotherham.

Organised by Voluntary Action Rotherham on behalf of the Rotherham Partnership, the Awards first took place in 2003 and have celebrated the achievements of Rotherhams Voluntary and community sector.

Fire service issues Black Friday fake goods warning

Fire officers are issuing Black Friday safety tips to shoppers, to stop them getting duped by dodgy goods online.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) is pointing to figures from Electrical Safety First, which show more than one million people bought fake goods in the UK last year.

The majority of those goods were bought online, with shoppers regularly misled by images stolen from official sites, fake safety marks or near to authentic pricing.

Counterfeit electrical products are particularly risky as they often contain faulty parts that can overheat and catch fire or deliver a fatal electric shock.

SYFR Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “Thousands of people will be using tempting black Friday deals to hunt for a tech bargain online, but we know that these often pose a serious risk of fire. Fake goods aren’t always easy to spot, but it’s well worth taking the time to consider the authenticity of a purchase.

“Electrical equipment causes a third of all the house fires we attend and in the UK last year electrical fires killed 50 people and injured 3,000 more.”

How to spot fake electrical products online

  1. If the price is (almost) right, it’s probably fake
    Some counterfeits are for sale just below the recommended retail value, hoodwinking shoppers that are too savvy to fall for the ‘too good to be true’ deals. Make sure you do your homework if you decide to buy products below high street retail prices.
  2. Don’t just take the seller’s word for it – or the reviewers
    Beware of a product with solely glowing reviews, especially if the reviewers aren’t verified. Some sites cross-reference user reviews with their buyer database and label those people as “verified purchasers”.
  3. Know where you’re buying from
    Make sure you know where the supplier is based, a ‘’ URL doesn’t guarantee the website is UK based. If there is no address supplied, or there is just a PO Box, be wary; many counterfeit electrical goods are manufactured overseas, where they will not be safety tested and are produced as quickly and cheaply as possible.
  4. Beware of words qualifying an item’s authenticity
    If the seller claims the product is ‘genuine’, ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ double check the source. Most reputable retailers don’t need to sell their products like this.
  5. Spot the lock to pay safely
    Look for websites that allow you to pay safely – these have a padlock symbol at the bottom of the screen when you are filling in your payment details. If you can’t see it, do not enter your payment details.

For more home fire safety advice visit

Charity launches road safety push for people with learning difficulties and autism

A Rotherham based charity is working with the fire service to keep people with learning disabilities and autism safe on the roads.

Speakup Self Advocacy is using Road Safety Week (23 to 29 November) to kickstart its work to support people being safe on their bikes and when out walking during the darker, winter months.

Speakup’s two year initiative will create online films, Easyread books and training to help people with learning disabilities and autism be safer when out and about, including on the bus, train, tram and in a taxi.

It’s all part of a project funded through South Yorkshire Fire Authority’s Safer Stronger Communities Reserve fund. The funding, now in its second year, is the only fire service backed grant scheme of its kind anywhere in the country.

Speakup has been working with Government departments and national organisations for 28 years to develop information and training, which is suitable for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

Speakup’s Geoff Doncaster, said: “People with learning disabilities and autism often miss out on road safety information as they struggle with printed text and find it hard to understand the other information which we all take for granted. It is hoped that by making accessible information on film and through Easyread books, people can be safer when out and about.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Lesley Hayhurst, said: “There’s a definite gap currently in the quality of information public services offer to people with autism and learning difficulties. By working with an organisation which specializes in delivering education and information to these vulnerable groups, this project gives us a real opportunity to change that, particularly in regards to road safety.”

The first film is now available on Speakup’s website

Fire service recognised for reservists support

The fire service was one of three Sheffield organisations to be recognised as being among the country’s leading employers for their support of the Reserve Forces, having been honoured at a special awards ceremony last week as part of the government’s Employer Recognition Scheme.

Receiving a certificate signed by the Secretary of State for Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff, Sheffield City Council, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and Chesterfield Special Cylinders received the Silver Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) award. The three organisations were among only 14 from across the Yorkshire region, out of 500 candidates, which have been successful in winning the award.

SYFR Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “Reservists are an integral part of the UK Armed Forces and are trained to a high standard. It’s right that as an organisation we support reservists with their training and deployment and it’s pleasing that we have been picked out in our region as leading the way in this respect.”

The launch of the Employer Recognition Scheme was a commitment made in the July 2013 White Paper entitled ‘Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued’, and takes into account the views of a wide range of companies and industry bodies who championed the value in publicly recognising employers supportive to Reservists.

Reservists in the Yorkshire and Humber areas serve in the Royal Naval Reserve, the Royal Marines, the Army Reserve and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and can be mobilised wherever needed to work alongside Britain’s regular Armed Forces. Reservists are an integral part of the UK Armed Forces and are trained to a high standard.

Boxing club wins fire service funding

Youngsters in the Manor area of Sheffield are fighting fit thanks to fire service funding for their local boxing club.

De Hood boxing club has been awarded funding for equipment and a boxing ring, which will enable the club to expand and take on more young members.

The boxing club began in 2013 with the aim of reducing antisocial behaviour in the area and to give the youngsters a purpose. Within only a few weeks of opening the antisocial behaviour figures had been halved.

With 100 current members, the club is wanting to expand and to increase its numbers to 150.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue are to hold regular fire and road safety sessions for the youngsters at the club and will be seen as a role model by many of them.

The project won £7,700 which will provide this well needed equipment which De Hood needs to progress.

The funding comes from the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s funding scheme, the Stronger Safer Communities Reserve.

The fund 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.

Station Manager Steve Wood, at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue said, “This new and exciting project will give the young people on the Manor an opportunity to let off steam in this very popular sport. We look forward to visiting the club and offering advice and encouragement, which in turn will benefit the whole community and help to reduce antisocial behaviour in the area.”

De Hood Boxing Club organiser Mark Wilkinson said, “We are really pleased that our project has won this funding. Our aim is to become one of the main community hubs for children and young people in the Manor area of Sheffield. The project will work in partnership with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police to bring down antisocial behaviour, and for the youngsters something to be proud of in their local community.”