South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Work starts on joint fire and police station in Maltby

Work has started on a new joint fire and police station in Maltby.

Chief Fire Officer James Courtney, Police & Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police Superintendent Sarah Poolman and Fire Authority member Cllr Pat Haith attended an event to formally begin work on the site.

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 last year.

The project won Government Transformation Funding of £560,000 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.

Chief Fire Officer James Courtney 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: “The move to accommodate both South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue staff under one roof is a huge step in our commitment to the public to reduce costs and work more collaboratively.

“The diminishing government grants for both organisations are requiring all of us to be most cost effective, whilst still providing the same levels of service.  I hope that the police and fire station will prove to be a successful pilot and we can identify further opportunities for blue light services to work together.”

South Yorkshire Police Superintendent Sarah Poolman said: “The layout of this purpose-built facility will assist internal information and intelligence sharing among police staff, as it’s better designed to help meet the demands of modern policing, demands that have changed substantially since the existing station was constructed many years ago on Byford Road.

“We envisage that sharing the building with our partners at the Fire and Rescue Service will improve both parties input into collaborative projects too, delivering a better coordinated service to the public.”

Kier has been appointed as the main contractor for the building work and the new facility is expected to open in spring 2017.

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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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Fire service staff attacked in Edlington

Fire officers have condemned an attack on fire service staff in Doncaster on Monday (17 October).

Fire safety staff were working in the Royal Estate area of Edlington at around 5.30pm when the vehicle they were travelling in was surrounded by a group of people and stones and fireworks were thrown. Luckily no staff were injured and only very minor damage was done to the vehicle.

South Yorkshire Police have been informed and are investigating the incident.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Martin Blunden, said: “We are absolutely appalled that our staff appear to have been targeted in this way. Attacks like this place the safety of our staff, and the people they are trying to protect, at risk.

“Thankfully, this type of incident is extremely rare in South Yorkshire and it is only a tiny minority of people who would ever consider acting in such an irresponsible and dangerous way.

“However, even one attack on a member of fire service staff is unacceptable – and we will work alongside the police to fully investigate any attacks and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”

If you have any information about this attack please call police via 101 or email enquiries@southyorks.pnn.police.uk

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Fire safety call for students to ditch door wedges

Fire safety bosses are calling on Sheffield’s student to ditch door wedges and use a packet of biscuits instead to make friends.

The safety plea comes as experts fear the city’s new arrivals could be tempted to wedge open fire doors which are meant to keep them safe in the event of a major blaze.

Reports from elsewhere in the country suggest that some student marketing companies actually provide door wedges in a bid to make it easier for students to make friends.

But South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue business fire safety officers say fire doors in large, student accommodation blocks are there for a reason.

Business Fire Safety Manager Amy Jenkinson, said: “Fire doors are a crucial part of the passive fire protection of every commercial, public and multiple occupancy building. They save lives and property and should never be propped open. They are designed to stop a fire spreading as fast, which is especially important in accommodation like student complexes where multiple people live.

“We’re aware of some people around the country providing door wedges to promote friendship, but suggest that there are safer and more effective ways of making new friends- from a cup of tea and a packet of biscuits, to sharing some music or a film.”

Other tips for students to keep them safe from fire include:

• Don’t cook under the influence of alcohol- buy a takeaway after a night out instead
• Switch off electrical appliances like mobile chargers, laptops and hair straighteners when not in use
• Plan and practice an escape route with your house mates. In the event of a fire- get out, stay out and dial 999
• Never leave candles unattended and keep them away from curtains, drapes and clothes

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Sheffield firefighters win top national challenge for second year in a row

A fire crew from Sheffield is celebrating after coming out on top in a national competition to test firefighters’ search and rescue skills in heat and smoke.

Central White Watch were awarded first place in the UK finals of the Breathing Apparatus (BA) challenge- defending the title they won last year.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue firefighters competed against 15 other fire crews from across the UK, including West Yorkshire, West Midlands and Cornwall.

Each team tackled a series of scenarios involving the rescue of ‘casualties’ from inside smoke-filled buildings at Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh.

Awards were also won by Will Selby, who was named best entry control officer, and Chris Moore and John Taylor who won best BA team. A second team from South Yorkshire, made up of officers and instructors from across the service, finished fourth.

Judges at the competition named the Central crew overall winners after scoring firefighters in a number of different skill areas including BA search and rescue, firefighting while in BA, pump operator, BA entry control officer and incident command.

Officers say the competition is proof of the skill and professionalism of the county’s crews.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer John Roberts, who attended the event, said: “We’re very proud that for the second year in a row a crew from South Yorkshire has taken first place in a national competition that was filled with ultra professional, highly-skilled firefighters. The standard is always extremely high but is rising year on year, so for our crew to perform again to such a high standard on the national stage is a fantastic achievement.”

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Prince’s Trust team meet the Yorkshire Regiment

Our latest Prince’s Trust programme is running in Dearne, and the recruits on Team Valiant are really taking the bull by the horns.

They were recently invited by the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion in the Yorkshire Regiment to visit Catterick Garrison and meet the regiment.

It was an early start for the team, travelling to North Yorkshire to take up the invite. On arrival, following introductions, they were treated to a display by the Drums Platoon before moving on to different stances which included vehicle recovery, command tasks, physical training and finally finishing with a weapons and equipment display.

The Commanding Officer commended the group for their participation and enthusiasm, stating how impressed he was with their efforts on the day. The youngsters really demonstrated what a fantastic team they are, winning medals from the Commanding Officer for being the quickest team to complete the command tasks.

On behalf of Team Valiant, we would like to pass on thanks to the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment and The Prince’s Trust for providing this unique opportunity.

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Fire service volunteer lands full time job

A former volunteer turned fire service employee has hailed the strength of the organisation’s volunteering scheme after it helped build his skills and experience to land a full time role.

In 2013, Ben Williamson became an Assistant Fire Cadet Instructor after being a Fire Cadet for a number of years. Wanting to work further with the fire service he became a Fire Support Volunteer within the Community Safety department, assisting and supporting the fire service safety teams by helping out at events, carrying out Home Safety Checks and fitting smoke alarms for members of the public.

Ben soon became a valued member of the team, and it was here that he gained the skills and experience required to further his career within the fire service.

A full time vacancy became available and his drive and determination spurred him on to apply for the permanent post of Maintenance Operative Driver. Ben was successful and became a paid member of staff in September 2016.

Ben said; “Without volunteering I would never have developed the skills and confidence that secured me this role. Volunteering has changed my life and has benefited me in many ways and I would recommend it to anyone.”

Sue Butler, Volunteering Co-Ordinator at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue said; “Ben is a shining example of how volunteering helps out the local community and the individual themselves. Ben has gone from strength to strength and the knowledge and skills he acquired during his time as a volunteer was a large factor in his gaining full time employment within the service. We are all really proud of him and wish him all the best in his career.”

If you are interested in volunteering for South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue call 0114 253 2413.

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Farm fires warning after summer blazes spike

Fire officers are urging farmers to take steps to protect their livelihoods, after a large number of farm blazes in the last three months.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has attended 39 fires since June, either on farm sites or involving crops in fields.

Many of those fires were started deliberately, with most farms’ isolated locations, open boundaries and easily ignitable materials like hay and straw making them particularly vulnerable to arson.

More than 1,600 farm buildings are lost to fire each year in the UK, costing farmers thousands of pounds in lost machinery, crops and livestock.

Head of prevention and protection Steve Helps, said: “We get called to dozens of field and farm fires each year in South Yorkshire, with many of these fires occurring around harvesting time.

“Not only do fires like this put lives at risk by potentially diverting fire engines away from other, life threatening incidents, they also cost farmers thousands of pounds in damage.

“The maximum sentence for arson is life in prison. People do get caught and do get prosecuted, so we urge people to report arsonists to the police”.

To help prevent fires, farmers are being asked to:

Remove hay and straw as soon as possible after harvesting
Store fuels, fertilisers and pesticides securely – preferably under lock and key
Check unoccupied and remote areas of the farm to make sure they are safe and secure

Anyone with information about people starting fires in their area should call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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Fire safety campaign leads to big drop in electrical blazes

Electrical blazes in South Yorkshire have dropped by a quarter, thanks to a fire service safety campaign.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it attended 33 electrical related house fires between May and July- 27 per cent fewer than the same months over the last three years.

The fall in incidents comes after a major safety campaign was launched by fire officers to warn the public about the dangers of everything from e-cigs to tumble dryers.

The campaign saw advertising vans carry safety messages to areas of South Yorkshire known to experience high numbers of house fires and radio advertisements warn people about the most common causes of electrical blazes.

Officers also encourage visitors to check the safety of their home electrics by completing a short, online checklist.

Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “We’d like to thank the public for listening to our safety messages, but we’d urge people not to become complacent when it comes to house fires.

“The simple truth is that homes have more small electrical devices in them than probably any time in our history- from tablets and mobile phones, to e-cigarettes and games consoles. 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.”

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

Sometimes fires are caused by faulty goods, which could be small items like mobile chargers, or big things like washing machines and dryers.

Fires are also caused by people misusing electrical appliances, for example by leaving them plugged in for too long or covering them up allowing them to overheat.

The fire service has issued the following advice to stop electrical fires:

  • Don’t buy cheap, unbranded chargers and make sure chargers are compatible to the device you are using
  • Don’t leave things to charge overnight or beyond the recommended charging time. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Keep electrical items away from flammable materials when charging
  • Don’t overload sockets– long, strip adaptors are safest, but can only take a total of 13 amps
  • People can still check the safety of their home electrics by visiting 13orbust.co.uk
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Firefighters raising bike ride cash at Moor event

Firefighters will be meeting shoppers on The Moor, Sheffield on Saturday (10 September), in a bid to raise charity cash ahead of a major fundraising bike ride.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue firefighters are cycling between Lands End and John O’Groats later this month to raise money for the Fire Fighters Charity.

At Saturday’s event the team will be riding on exercise bikes and collecting donations to raise awareness of their mammoth challenge, as well as passing on fire safety tips to the people they meet.

The cyclists begin their 600 mile ride on 19 September.

The Fire Fighters Charity is the UK’s leading provider of services that enhance quality of life for serving and retired firefighters, fire personnel and their families.

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