South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Firefighter donates winnings to charity

A Sheffield firefighter has donated £1,000 to charity after winning the money in a competition.

Crew Manager Paul Wood from white watch on Central station in Sheffield, won the money last year while attending the national fire service Breathing Apparatus (BA) Challenge, where he took part in the guess the name of the bear competition, which to Paul’s surprise he won.

He decided to donate the full £1,000 prize money between two charities, The Children’s Hospital Charity for the Burns Unit and The Fire Fighters Charity, getting £500 each.

Paul has this week presented his cheques to each of the charities.

Paul said; “I couldn’t believe my luck when I was told I had won, it was such a surprise. I knew straight away though that I wanted to donate the money to charity. The Fire Fighters Charity was the obvious choice, having been a firefighter for the past 19 years. I also chose The Children’s Hospital Charity as I wanted to help a local charity and having two children of my own I felt it was a very worthy cause.”

Judith Oliver, the Fire Fighters Charity fundraiser in Yorkshire, said; “We can’t thank Paul enough. Working with members of the fire and rescue services is always a pleasure as they are such generous and community-minded people”.

The Children’s Hospital Charity’s director, David Vernon-Edwards, said: “This is an incredible donation, which comes at a critical time in our hospital transformation as we strive to fundraise for a brand new wing at The Children’s Hospital in Sheffield. As part of our Make it Better appeal, we urgently need funds to bring world-class facilities to the already world-class hospital, so Paul’s amazing support means we are a step closer to that.”

Safety advice after Wake Road inquest verdict

The fire service has repeated safety warnings, after an inquest into the deaths of five people in a house fire in Sheffield concluded.

The tragedy on Wake Road, Sheffield killed three generations of the same family in April 2014.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Chris Dorries described the fire as “a tragedy of unimaginable proportion” and said the cause of the fire was “undetermined.”

Evidence was heard from forensic experts about electrical items which were found close to where the fire started. These included a mobile phone, phone charger and baby monitor charging cradle, but the coroner said none of these could be said to have caused the fire.

Smoke alarms were fitted in the property and operated that night, but the family initially believed it to be a false alarm.

The fire spread quickly and was described by firefighters as being particularly ferocious. This was aided by doors within the house remaining open, which helped the fire to spread, the inquest heard.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s head of community safety Kevin Ronan, said: “This was the most serious house fire in terms of loss of life that our crews have attended for many years. Our thoughts remain with the loved ones of those who died at what must be a time of enormous sorrow.

“Fires as serious as this are fortunately very rare, but when they do happen they affect our service personnel and the wider community very deeply.

“We’d remind people that whilst smoke alarms have the potential to save lives in house fires, they will only do so if people take the appropriate action when the alarm sounds- to get out, stay out and call 999.

“One of our main safety messages during talks and safety visits is to shut internal doors at night to stop the spread of a fire in the event one does occur. Unfortunately it does not appear that this happened at this incident, meaning the blaze spread incredibly quickly.”

Firefighters were praised during proceedings for their exceptional bravery, with Mr Dorries commending the first crew in attendance to the Chief Fire Officer for recognition.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus walked up a burning staircase in temperatures of more than 1000 degrees celcius to search for casualties, the inquest heard.

“We echo the words of the coroner who commended the actions of the first crew in attendance. The inquest was told that this was the most ferocious domestic fire firefighters with more than 25 years experience had ever attended, and it is right that their actions have been recognised”, said Kevin.

One of those who died, 53-year-old Shabina Begum, has also been nominated for a posthumous Royal Humane Society award in recognition of her bravery in attempting to rescue her grandchildren from the fire.

Top 10 tips for preventing fires

Fire training exercise for worldwide building engineers

Safety experts responsible for putting fire protection systems in iconic buildings like the Shard and Sydney Operate House have been put through their paces at a South Yorkshire training exercise.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) staged the exercise for seven fire engineers from ARUP, a multinational company responsible for implementing fire safety systems in large buildings worldwide.

The exercise at South Yorkshire’s Handsworth training base included scenarios in the service’s cutting edge Realistic Fire Training Building.

The training was designed to help the engineers to experience first-hand the physical demands placed on fire crews attending incidents.

SYFR’s Roger Brason, who helped organise the training, said: “As part of the design process, fire engineers have an obligation under building regulations to provide access and facilities for fire services. Physical attributes which are a daily part of a firefighters’ role are at times not fully quantified in design consideration by the fire engineering community.

“But staging this training allowed the engineers to understand how standard features commonly provided in buildings, such as dry and wet risers, fire fighting lifts, fire hydrants and smoke ventilation are used in real life events.”

Sometimes features which can aid firefighting are engineered out of designs to save money and space, so SYFR hopes that by staging the exercise engineers will have a better understanding of the impact this can have.

The exercise was led by South Yorkshire’s technical fire safety team, which is responsible for engaging businesses in the county and ensuring they meet obligations under fire safety legislation.

View more information on making your business safer.

Dozens attend care homes seminar

Dozens of care home managers have attended a fire service safety seminar, at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Sheffield training centre.

The seminar gave care providers tips on the steps they can take to avoid falling foul of fire safety law. This includes carrying out a fire risk assessment, which is essential for ensuring the safety of those being cared for. Other measures include proper maintenance of fire detection systems and ensuring escape routes are adequate.

Speakers at the event also discussed how sprinkler systems can be installed to provide added protection to premises and those they house.

Technical Fire Safety Manager Amy Jenkinson, said: “Vulnerable people, including older people, as well as those with mental health problems and those with mobility issues, are amongst the people most at risk from fire. But we were concerned by how many premises- which should be places where people feel safe- are failing to meet some basic fire safety standards. So it was pleasing that a good number of people in associated with residential care facilities attended this event to learn more about fire safety.

“Prosecutions taken under fire safety legislation are always a last resort and we would much rather work with care providers to ensure good safety standards are met. Educating businesses about their obligations is always our first approach, which is why we put on this event, so care home managers can pick up advice and so they know what to expect when one of our inspectors visits their premises.

SYFR revealed last month that enforcement action had been taken against 14 residential care or nursing homes since 2013 under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This included working with owners to ensure adequate fire safety measures were put in place.

Care homes are monitored by the Care Quality Commission, the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England.

Read more about fire safety laws for businesses

Sizzle safely say firefighters ahead of BBQ weekend

South Yorkshire residents planning to celebrate the warm weather with a barbecue this weekend are being reminded to take some basic steps to ensure their party plans don’t go up in smoke.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue say al fresco cooking carries a potential fire risk- but only if barbecues are used incorrectly.

Kevin Ronan, head of community safety, said: “Many people will be taking advantage of the beautiful weather this weekend and after a week of rain, who can blame them. All we are saying is before you get started with the sausages and kebabs, take a minute to decide where you’re going to site it. Then, when the coals are properly cooled, dispose of them safely.”

To make sure your barbecue goes to plan:

  • Site it on a flat surface well away from trees, shrubs and grassland
  • Keep a bucket of water or sand close by, just in case
  • Never use petrol or paraffin on a barbecue, only recognised lighters and starter fuels
  • Make sure the coals have properly cooled before disposal and empty ashes onto bare soil, not into the bin

Recent high-profile deaths on campsites involving barbecues have also prompted safety campaigners to remind campers of the fatal consequences of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Barbecues continue to give off the deadly gas even after the coals are cool. So campers should never use barbecues inside tents, or to stay warm indoors.

South Yorkshire events to mark UK road safety week

The fire service is calling on South Yorkshire’s drivers to mark a major national awareness week by making the county’s highways injury free.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and its partners will be spelling out road dangers at four events across the county to mark UK Road Safety Week (June 8-15), coordinated by the Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA).

Every day around 10 injury collisions are recorded on South Yorkshire’s roads. By educating motorists, cyclists and pedestrians about common causes of road injuries such as speeding, drink driving and distraction, members of the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership aim to bring that figure down.

Several road safety events and demonstrations are taking place across the county, including:

  • Monday 8th June – Asda Aldwarke Lane,  Rotherham
  • Tuesday 9th June – Asda Old Mill Lane, Barnsley
  • Wednesday 10th June – Morrisons Hillsborough, Sheffield
  • Thursday 11th June – Lakeside Shopping centre, Doncaster

The events will feature a Subaru Impreza, used by the fire service to give advice to young drivers, who make up the majority of deaths and injuries on the region’s roads.

The advice that the fire service will be giving to road users includes:

Think speed – the risk of killing a pedestrian is four times higher at 40mph, than 30mph

Keep your distance – leave at least a two second gap between you and the car in front

Don’t drink and drive – just one drink can affect your response times as a driver.

Distractions– never use a mobile phone when driving, only use a hands free kit

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Gary Bruce, said: “Safe driving is mostly common sense. So we’re asking people to drive at the appropriate speed, leave a decent gap between you and the vehicle in front and never, ever drink and drive. Not just during this week, but every single day.”

Click for more information about staying safe on the roads.

Or drivers can refresh their knowledge of the Highway Code with a quick  fire service quiz here

First turntable ladder arrives in South Yorkshire

The first of two new aerial appliances has arrived in South Yorkshire. It is now being kitted out before firefighters undergo familiarisation training with the new vehicle.

The Turntable Ladder (TL) has been manufactured by Metz XS and supplied through the Rosenbauer Group here in the UK. It is believed to be the best specification firefighting turntable ladder on the market.

The L32A model has superior accuracy and agility compared to an aerial ladder platform (ALP), deploying 90 seconds faster. Its ladder can reach 32 metres and provides water more quickly than an ALP.

After specifications were submitted by companies interested in providing the vehicles, extensive testing by a working group consisting of staff in various roles across the fire service took place.

Fire service volunteers join Rotherham march

A dozen fire service volunteers joined a march through Rotherham town centre this week, in celebration of their service to local people.

The walk, organised by Voluntary Action Rotherham, attracted support from businesses and individuals along the route. More than 200 people who volunteer for a variety of local organisations joined the walk to mark National Volunteers’ Week.

Volunteers contribute to the work of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) in a variety of ways, including supporting community safety events, schools work and helping to deliver educational scenarios for the thousands of children who visit Lifewise Centre, Rotherham each year.

Sue Butler, volunteers coordinator at SYFR, said: “This is overdue recognition not just for those volunteers who give up their time to make their communities safer by working with the fire service, but for the many thousands of volunteers from across Rotherham who are helping local people on a daily basis.”

Click for more information about volunteering for the fire service.

Yellow wind warning prompts safety tips

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for wind across South Yorkshire, and many other parts of the country, later on Monday and overnight into Tuesday.

We’re asking the public, and especially drivers, to take some precautions to stay safe, as some gusts are expected to reach more than 60 miles per hour.

Driving tips during windy weather

  • Check local traffic reports to see if the route is clear before you make your journey, and avoid traveling during the worst of the weather if you can
  • Take extra care when driving while it’s still dark in areas that you know have flooded or been affected by severe weather on previous occasions, and please don’t ignore diversion and road closure signs
  • Be alert to the danger posed by debris, including branches and slates, that may have blown into the roadway.
  • Remember, wind rarely blows steadily, and a sudden gust can catch out even the most experienced driver
  • High-sided vehicles are most affected by windy weather, but strong gusts can also blow a car, cyclist or motorcyclist off course. This can happen on open stretches of road exposed to strong crosswinds, or when passing bridges or gaps in hedges
  • In very windy weather your vehicle may be affected by turbulence created by large vehicles. Motorcyclists are particularly affected, so keep well back from them when they are overtaking a high-sided vehicle