South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Thorne boxing club’s knock out success

A fire station based boxing club is proving a big hit with youngsters in Doncaster, in one of the first partnerships of its kind anywhere in the country.

The knock out success of Thorne and Moorends Boxing Club sees dozens of young people including boys and girls from eight years old upwards bob and weave at Thorne fire station twice a week.

The Doncaster Council backed initiative is also helping to build links with the local gypsy traveller community.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) says the scheme supports its youth engagement work in the area, ultimately helping to drive down anti-social behaviour and reduce fires.

Station Manager Delroy Galloway said: “Allowing one of our fire stations to be used as a venue for a boxing club is win-win. For the club, we can provide a venue for young people to take part in physical activity in a safe and structured environment. For us, we can build lasting, positive relationships with youngsters in the communities we are here to serve.”

Thorne and Moorends Boxing Club meets on Tuesdays (5pm to 7pm) and Saturdays (11am to 12pm) at Thorne fire station, Union Road and costs a pound to take part. For more information find Thorne and Moorends Boxing Club on Facebook.

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Fire service offers women chance to ‘have a go’ at career day

Women who have never considered a career as a firefighter before are being urged to ‘have a go’, at a specially arranged event in Sheffield.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) is hoping for dozens of women to sign up for the session which is being held as part of a fresh drive to make the service more representative of the communities it serves.

The ‘Have A Go’ event aims to clarify and dispel many of the preconceptions people from under-represented areas of the community might have about joining the fire service.

SYFR is calling on women to sign-up for the event and find out what it takes to become a firefighter with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer John Roberts said: “Perceptions of the fire service as being a white male dominated organisation are changing and here in South Yorkshire we have already come a very long way, with firefighters from underrepresented groups including many women on the front line at fire stations all over the county.

“But at the same time we fully accept that we still have a long way to go before we become truly representative of the communities which we serve. The role of a firefighter has changed considerably in recent years, and we now play a vital social role, including youth work, fire safety initiatives and carrying out free home safety checks.

“The aim of this campaign is to give under represented groups, including women, an insight into what the role and selection process entails, and hopefully make them think about a career they may never have considered before.”

Last year, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue appointed its first new firefighters in eight years. The eight recruits have completed their initial training and have joined fire stations following a passing out parade in Sheffield last week.

Although there are no immediate plans to open recruitment for full time firefighters, there remain opportunities for on-call firefighters and the service is keen to raise awareness of firefighting as a career amongst diverse groups should it recruit for frontline roles in the future.

The ‘Have A Go Day’ for women will take place at SYFR’s Handsworth training base on Saturday 13 February.

If you are a woman and want to find out more about a career with the fire service, register for the event by emailing recruitment@syfire.gov.uk or for more information visit www.syfrrecruitment.com

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Health walks promote physical activity at fire station memory cafe

Older people in Doncaster are boosting their health thanks to a fire station based walking scheme.

Adwick fire station at Quarry Lane, Woodlands hosts a monthly ‘memory cafe’ as part of a partnership launched last year 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.

Now, fire service staff have helped participants on a guided ‘health walk’- a 30 minute stroll in the vicinity of the fire station as a way of boosting physical activity amongst older people.

Officers believe the project benefits 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: “We believe the fire service can play a much wider role in terms of tackling some of the big health challenges our country faces in the future. The memory cafe and the associated health walks are 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 more about what it’s like to live with dementia, and then turns that understanding into action.

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Parkway fire station officially opened

A brave South Yorkshire teenager has helped to officially open a new multi-million pound fire station in Sheffield.

Joe Bowers, who suffered life changing burns as a baby following a house fire, joined Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts in formally unveiling the new Parkway fire station.

The £4 million facility improves South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s service to Sheffield’s major industrial sites, new housing developments in the area and road traffic collisions on Sheffield Parkway.

It houses a full time fire engine and an aerial appliance and also features a community room with audio visual facilities, for use by local residents for meetings and events. The station started receiving its first 999 calls in July 2015.

Red watch firefighters performed a breathing apparatus demonstration in front guests, who included teachers and pupils from nearby Pipworth Community Primary School. Other invitees included Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police David Crompton, members of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority and staff from contractors BAM Construction Ltd.

Speaking at the event Chief Fire Officer James Courtney, said: “The financial pressures the fire and rescue service faces are both well documented and unprecedented. But this fantastic new facility is the best possible physical reminder of the fact that despite the challenges we face we remain absolutely committed to supporting our future.

“The site was carefully chosen to improve our emergency response service to the city’s major industrial sites as well as new housing developments nearby and incidents on Sheffield Parkway. But this project has also been about providing our firefighters with a workplace which is befitting of their skills and the vital role they play in our communities.”

Joe Bowers was rescued from a house fire in 2001 when he was just 18 months old and suffered life changing burns and spent months recovering in hospital. Overcoming everything from facial reconstruction to muscle transplants with admirable strength and incredible determination, he was last year awarded Youth of Courage at the Spirit of Fire Awards in London.

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National museum’s safety displays showcased at official unveiling of fire service funded revamp

The nation’s premier museum celebrating the work of the emergency services will deliver interactive safety information to thousands of visitors thanks to a fire service funded facilities overhaul.

The National Emergency Services museum has launched its new fire and road safety educational facilities with museum goers now benefiting from updated fire safety messages delivered by new computer and audio equipment.

The unveiling this week was attended by representatives from all the emergency services along with members of the South Yorkshire Fire Authority.

The museum gained national status in January 2014 and is embarking on a major re-development.

The National Emergency Services Museum in Sheffield was awarded nearly £20,000 to help upgrade its educational display, under the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s funding scheme, the Stronger Safer Communities Reserve.

Chair of the Fire Authority, Cllr Jim Andrews said: “The museum has undergone a fantastic refurbishment and upgrade of its educational displays which reflect the most up to date and relevant safety information, which will ultimately help to reduce deaths and injuries from fires and on the roads.”

Matt Wakefield at the National Emergency Services Museum, said: “It’s great to receive support of this nature as it allows the museum to grow, develop and continue to promote life safety through hands-on learning with history.”

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Firefighter recruits pass out in style

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s latest group of new recruits has successfully graduated following 13 weeks of intensive training.

The group of eight firefighters have completed their training at the Training and Development Centre (TDC) in Handsworth and will now join the fire crews at their respective stations at Parkway and Rotherham.

The passing out parade at TDC was attended by their family and friends along with local dignitaries.

During the parade, the newly qualified firefighters showcased their skills and techniques by rescuing casualties from a mock road traffic collision, before being presented with their certificates.

The much anticipated award for Top Trainee went to Firefighter Kim Wilkinson who was presented with the silver axe.

Head of Emergency Response Phil Shillito said: “The recruits have gone through rigorous training to incorporate the demands of the modern firefighter role as we continue to provide the best possible 999 service to the public. They have worked really hard and their achievements today are well deserved.

“The financial pressures the fire and rescue service faces are both well documented and unprecedented. But by recruiting these individuals we have also shown that despite the challenges we face we remain committed to supporting our future.
“We wish them all the best for their future career.”

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Successful start for South Yorkshire’s first Emergency First Responder scheme

Firefighters at Stocksbridge station have responded to more than 50 medical emergencies, two months after the launch of South Yorkshire’s first Emergency First Responder (EFR) scheme.

The scheme is a joint initiative between South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) which sees firefighters called out to certain life-threatening incidents at the same time as an ambulance.

Medical emergencies attended since the scheme went live on 1 November 2015 include several cardiac arrests and incidents stating chest pains and breathing difficulties. At other incidents, firefighters have provided support and made the patient comfortable until the ambulance service arrived on scene.

Training for firefighters taking part in the pilot included basic life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and oxygen therapy. They are equipped with a kit which includes oxygen and an automated external defibrillator to help patients in a medical emergency such as a heart attack, collapse or breathing difficulties.

An EFR is despatched at the same time as an ambulance and does not replace the usual emergency medical response from YAS. However, their location within the local community could mean they are nearer to the scene in those first critical minutes of a medical emergency, delivering life-saving care until an ambulance arrives.

They also support and complement other volunteer community first responder schemes within South Yorkshire, ensuring the level of medical provision to local communities is supplemented.

Emergency First Responders are only available for dispatch when staffing levels at their fire station allow and the scheme does not impact fire cover.

On-call firefighters at Rossington and Dearne fire stations have become the latest in South Yorkshire to attend EFR calls.

Head of Emergency Response at SYFR Phil Shillito said: “Two months after this scheme went live, our firefighters are already showing the incredible value they can add to their communities and the role we can play as a fire service in enhancing the work of our emergency service partners and volunteer community first responders.

“Our role as a fire service will always be to protect our communities and reach and save those who are in danger as quickly as possible. So I think it’s only natural for us to look for other ways to extend our skills and support the work of other local bodies, like the ambulance service.”

YAS Head of Community Resilience Paul Stevens said: “The demand placed upon blue light emergency services increases every year and our approaches to providing the best response and best patient outcomes are continually evolving. This is an innovative and alternative way of working with our partners which will lead to more lives being saved.”

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South Yorkshire backing for national smoke alarm testing drive

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is urging residents to regularly test their smoke alarms and those of people they care for to prevent fire deaths, as a new look Fire Kills advertising campaign is being launched by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

The Government Fire Kills advertising campaign will run for one month from January across radio, print, digital, outdoor and social media as there is an increase in fire-related emergencies and deaths over the winter months, compared to the rest of the year.

There were more than 160 deaths from accidental fires in the home last year. By simply testing smoke alarms, many more lives could be saved.

Ads will feature friendly smoke alarms, which will tell the public to make time for their home’s ‘unsung heroes’ by testing their alarms once a month.

A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999. But just half of all householders who own a smoke alarm say that they test it’s working on a regular basis.

Our Head of Community Safety Trevor Bernard said:

“You’re four times more likely to die in a fire without a working smoke alarm, but only half of the people who own an alarm say they take the time to check it regularly. “I’d encourage people in South Yorkshire to make sure you test your smoke alarms this month and get into the habit of testing them each month as they can save you and your family’s life.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue have recorded 10 fatal deaths from accidental and household fires over the last 12 months.

Help keep yourself and your loved ones safe from fire by following these simple steps:

  • Make sure you fit smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly.
  • Make testing your smoke alarm part of your household routine in 3 easy steps:
    1. Test it by pressing the button once a month
    2. Change the batteries once a year if your alarm has removable batteries
    3. Clean the alarms casing twice a year to ensure dust isn’t blocking the sensor
  • Whatever happens, never remove the batteries in your smoke alarms unless you are replacing it.
  • Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do in a fire and knows your escape route.
  • For more information visit the Fire Kills campaign’s Facebook page at facebook.com/firekills A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time should the worst happen to get out, stay out and call 999.
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Fire service responds to expected £5 million funding cut

The fire service says the latest round of government funding reductions means it expects to lose another £5 million from its annual budget over the next four years.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has already lost more than £8 million since 2010 and has so far managed to minimize the impact of those cuts on its core emergency response service by reductions in support staff, managers and non-pay budgets.

The service has also introduced alternative ways of staffing fire stations, which has reduced costs whilst maintaining a similar level of fire cover.

But Chief Fire Officer James Courtney says the next round of cuts, announced before Christmas, mean the fire service’s ability to respond to national emergencies such as flooding and terrorism could be threatened.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue twice sent firefighters and specialist vehicles to support the national response to severe flooding in December, helping communities in Lancashire and Cumbria.

Mr Courtney said: “We already provide excellent value for money to the people of South Yorkshire with one of the leanest fire services in the country, considering the size of the area we have to cover and the risks associated with a large, urban population.

“Unfortunately, we are not being afforded the same financial protection as the police or ambulance services. I am concerned about the ways this may affect our service in the long term, including our ability to respond to national emergencies such as flooding and terrorism related incidents.

“We have already committed to protecting frontline services as far as possible, but continued sizeable cuts to our funding mean we will have to look at further ways to save money, including possible reductions in the number of immediately available fire engines, which can only have a negative effect on our ability to respond to emergencies.”

The Government announced yesterday that fire and rescue services will come under Home Office control in 2016 with the Home Secretary previously stating that she wants to follow through reforms in areas such as procurement, IT infrastructure and building management.

“We are already exploring significant collaboration opportunities with the police in a number of areas, from fleet management and sharing premises to the new joint police and fire station in Maltby, which will open later this year. We are also assisting the ambulance service in a number of areas operationally, from gaining access to properties at emergencies to jointly responding to some types of medical incidents.

“We will continue to pursue opportunities for further and more efficient working with all of our emergency service partners, but still believe the fire service has some unique skills and specialisms which must be protected,” said James.

The Chief Fire Officer has previously lobbied Government on the issue of funding and recently wrote to South Yorkshire MPs calling on them to back an Early Day Motion, which called for a halt on further fire service cuts nationally.

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Public asked not to buy extinguishers from boot sales and market stalls

South Yorkshire bargain hunters hoping to pick up a new year deal should avoid buying fire extinguishers at car boot sales, safety officers have warned.

Fire extinguishers are becoming an increasingly popular way for home owners to protect their properties from fire.

But experts at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue say it’s important to only buy extinguishers from reputable retailers and to never purchase them second hand.

Technical Support Manager Terry Guthrie, said: “You should never purchase fire extinguishers from car boot sales or pop up market stalls, where you are not provided with any guarantee or warranty, or even if the extinguisher will actually operate.

“This is a purchase that may lead to you losing your home or business when the extinguishers fails to operate in an emergency.

“A further point to note is that any green coloured fire extinguishers seen for sale will normally contain Halon gas. This type of extinguisher has been withdrawn from sale since 2003 due to the gas it contains being banned because of its ozone depleting properties, they should therefore not be on sale or bought for private or business  use. “ 

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