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Sheffield firefighters host visit by sea cadets

Firefighters have been visited by a group of young sea cadets eager to find out more about the role the fire service plays in keeping local people safe.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Central fire station hosted the visit of more than 20 members of Sheffield Sea Cadets.

The cadets learned more about the role of a firefighter, the equipment they use and also visited the service’s 999 control room.

Fire officers say visits like this are vital for teaching young people about the work of the fire service and ensuring safety messages are passed on to parents and peers.

Watch Manager Nicola Hobbs, said: “Young people can be vital ambassadors for our work, so it’s important that we find ways of giving them an insight into the role of the fire service from an early age. We also know that children are one of the best ways of ensuring safety messages, such as the importance of working smoke alarms, are passed on to parents.”

Sheffield Sea Cadets is part of a nationwide network of cadet units which has been giving young people training, skills and experiences on a naval theme since the first unit was established in 1854 in Kent.

Belles’ boost as football club spends day in fire service hot house

One of the country’s top women’s football sides has spent the day with the fire service, in a bid to boost its chances during the climax to its debut super league season.

Women’s Super League side Doncaster Rovers Belles spent the day experiencing life as South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue firefighters at the service’s training base in Handsworth, Sheffield.

The squad’s day included donning breathing apparatus inside SYFR’s cutting edge realistic fire training building and performing firefighting drills.

The aim of the day was to boost the Belles teamwork skills, but also to highlight firefighting as a potential career path for women and other diverse groups.

Belles goalkeeper Nicola Hobbs combines her role with a full time job as a firefighter in South Yorkshire and is currently working in the service’s community safety team.

Nicola said: “The Belles are really grateful for the support of the fire service in putting on this day, which was a brilliant opportunity for us to develop our teamwork skills before the vital last few weeks of the season.

“But our players are also aware of their responsibility as role models to women in our local community, and that responsibility extends to making them more aware of career paths some may not have previously considered.

“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.

“Through training days such as this we hope to inspire more women to think about a career as a firefighter which they may never have considered before.”

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue help hundreds of homeless people through Crisis

A South Yorkshire-based homelessness charity has used fire service funding to support vulnerable homeless people whilst simultaneously providing fire safety advice.

Crisis Skylight South Yorkshire partnered with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) to help 300 homeless people to better understand how to find and sustain a tenancy, improve their housing situation and provide safety advice to prevent fires.

The project aims to improve the tenancy skills of homeless people, many of whom have never lived in private rented accommodation before.

The charity works with the fire service to identify single homeless people who are considered very vulnerable due to their physical and mental health, their lack of tenancy skills and their inability to secure quality housing. Support workers then ensure the tenant receives all the support and guidance they need to find and sustain a tenancy, including arranging for safety checks to be carried out, fitting smoke alarms and helping them to source fire safe electrical goods.

The project was awarded £82,789 under South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s funding scheme, the Stronger Safer Communities Reserve (SSCR).

Station Manager Darren Perrot said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for SYFR to work with some of the most vulnerable people in South Yorkshire, and help those in need who we haven’t been able to reach previously. Crisis is a great charity which offers these people a chance at living a comfortable life, and if we can educate them in how to prevent fires at the same time then it benefits everyone. This is why the SSCR fund was set up and it’s brilliant to see the direct benefits within the local community.”

New joint emergency services team launched in Sheffield

South Yorkshire firefighters and police have joined forces with Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust to launch a new team to attend lower priority incidents in Sheffield, with the aim of reducing the demand on 999 responders.

The Local Intervention and Falls Episodes (LIFE) team, will see fire and police staff visit hundreds of homes in the city to reduce fire risk in properties, improve security and help people who have fallen and contribute to reducing the risk of falls.

The team will respond to help people at high volume, lower priority incidents, which can take police officers and paramedics off the road for many hours.

Those incidents include helping residents who have had a fall, are not seriously injured, but are unable to get up on their own. Their work will also involve carrying out welfare visits relating to low risk missing people and vulnerable people who are risk of anti-social behaviour.

The team will operate using two specialist vehicles and will consist of four staff – two South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue employees and two South Yorkshire Police community support officers (PCSOs).

The scheme has been funded by South Yorkshire Fire Authority for six months and researchers from the University of Huddersfield have been commissioned to evaluate its effectiveness. If successful, it could be extended and taken to other parts of South Yorkshire.

SYFR Head of Prevention and Protection Steve Helps, said: “The fire service already does far more than simply fighting fires and rescuing people from road traffic collisions. Really, this team is just an extension of our vision to make our communities safer.

“We also know that there are huge links between the people who need the help of the police and health services, and those who are at risk of fire. So strengthening our knowledge and referral mechanisms through collaborative working such as this must surely benefit our public safety work.”

South Yorkshire Police Chief Inspector Jenny Lax, said: “This is an exciting and innovative way of working in collaboration to help reduce risk and vulnerability within our communities, and improve their quality of life.

“The team will support the work of South Yorkshire Police, working in local communities to provide a service that includes a range of prevention advice spanning all three emergency services to help improve safety.”

Dr Steven Dykes, Deputy Medical Director at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “This is a great example of a number of organisations working together effectively and using the skills of their staff to benefit residents in the local area by providing the most appropriate care and support for their needs.  The pilot is a good opportunity to explore how we can further develop partnership initiatives with our emergency service colleagues.”

Last year the Government announced new proposals to transform the way the police, fire and rescue and ambulance services work together. It wants to encourage collaboration by introducing a new statutory duty on all three emergency services to look at opportunities to work with one another better to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

In South Yorkshire, fire crews already attend hundreds of ‘medical break-ins’ every year, where they gain access to properties where people are thought to be in need of urgent medical attention, but where ambulance service paramedics cannot get to them. This work used to be carried out by the police.

Plans have also been approved for a joint police and fire station in Maltby, whilst five ambulance stand-by points will also be created at five other fire service premises across the county.

Firefighters thanked for huge Portuguese equipment donation

South Yorkshire firefighters have been praised for the ‘overwhelming’ support they have given to their international colleagues, after sending hundreds of items of specialist equipment to Portugal.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) delivered dozens of pallets of tools, clothing and other life saving kit to Albufeira in response to a plea for equipment from volunteer firefighters in the region.

The shipment includes hose reel fittings, ropes and lines and items used in road traffic collision rescues.

Nine out of ten firefighters in Portugal are self-funded volunteers who rely on equipment donations to carry out their life saving work.

The equipment they’ve received was no longer in use in South Yorkshire, but will now be repaired and used by the Albufeira fire service, which responds to incidents across a large area of the Algarve as well as carrying out important prevention work.

Nuno Correira, from the Albufeira fire service, said: “We are so grateful to our friends in South Yorkshire for this equipment. It will be hard for people living to the UK to appreciate what a donation like this means to firefighters in Portugal, who are nearly all self-funded volunteers. It’s completely overwhelming and the equipment really will make a big difference, not just to firefighters in Albufeira, but across the whole of the region.”

SYFR Group Manager Andy Strelczenie, said: “The equipment we’ve donated had reached the end of its operational life here in South Yorkshire, but it’s brilliant that it will continue to be put to life saving use by our international colleagues in Portugal. Firefighting is a profession which knows no borders and when the request came to help our colleagues overseas, we were only too happy to help.”

Portugal is one of the countries currently assisted by Operation Florian, an international humanitarian charity providing fire engines, equipment and training to the world’s poorest regions which lose millions of lives every year to fires and disasters.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has previously donated obsolete equipment to Kashmir and Moldova. Its officers have also travelled to Ghana and parts of Eastern Europe to train fire crews in those countries in better rescue techniques.

South Yorkshire firefighters back national smoke alarms push

Latest fire statistics reveal that one smoke alarm may not be enough to provide you with the best chance of escaping a fire in the home.

Most people know that working smoke alarms save lives. They provide the vital early warning that allows for a safe escape a tragedy avoided.

But, despite the majority of homes (88%) having at least one working smoke alarm, smoke alarms only alerted householders to just one in every three fires in the home in England. The most common reason a smoke alarm failed to activate was because the fire was outside its range.

For this reason, the Fire Kills campaign and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) are encouraging people in county to have a think about the smoke alarms in their home.

Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “We all must make sure that we have enough smoke alarms in our homes and that they are in the right places. If you whole home isn’t covered, you could be leaving it to chance and, in a fire, you might not get the early warning that you need.

“The vast majority of us now have at least one working smoke alarm in our home, but early detection and warning is vital to reduce the devastation a fire can cause. That’s why it’s so important that you have enough smoke alarms and that they are in the right places. That will give them the best chance of alerting you and your loved ones to a fire.

“You should make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, preferably in hallways and landings. And placing smoke detectors near to sleeping areas and in rooms where there are electrical appliances could give you the extra warning you need.

“It’s also important to remember that smoke alarms don’t last forever. The power might work, but the detection mechanism deteriorates with time. So whether they are battery operated or wired to the mains, to work at their best they should be replaced every ten years,” said Trevor.

SYFR has offered these five smoke alarm top tips:

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home
  • The ideal position is on the ceiling, in the middle of a room or on a hallway or landing
  • Consider fitting additional alarms in other rooms where there are electrical appliances and near sleeping areas
  • Don’t put alarms in or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident
  • Replace your smoke alarms every ten years

For more information, visit Fire Kills on Facebook,, or

Road Safety Campaign to target young drivers, seatbelts & mobile phones

The PCC is supporting the next phase of the road safety campaign Illuminate which will focus on young drivers.

The campaign launched in February this year was set up to reduce fatalities on the roads of South Yorkshire by the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership. It will now be supported by both Dr Billings and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.

Statistics published last month by the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership showed that there had been an 88.5% increase across South Yorkshire in fatal casualties in 2015. Initial findings show that the contributory factors to road traffic collisions are speed, driver behaviour, not driving to the road conditions and driving whilst being over the prescribed drink or drug limit.

The Illuminate campaign will target young drivers through the month of August through a number of platforms including Facebook, Twitter and music streaming websites. It will seek to re-educate young drivers and their passengers on the importance of keeping within speed limits, wearing seatbelts and not using electronic devices whilst in control of a motorised vehicle.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “The Illuminate campaign is extremely important as it will repeatedly show young drivers how a split second decision could have devastating consequences.

“The campaign throughout August is directed at young drivers, but we must also reach out to other passengers in the vehicle. It is their own responsibility to ensure that they are wearing appropriate seatbelts, not traveling with a driver who has consumed alcohol or drugs and do not act as a distraction whilst travelling in the vehicle.

“I hope this campaign makes people stop and think about their actions. We understand that young drivers may be acting under peer pressure, but everyone in the vehicle has a responsibility to ensure that they all arrive at their destination safely.”

Illuminate will continue with further safety messages targeted at mobile phone usage and seatbelts over September and October. South Yorkshire residents will be able to hear radio advertisements running across Dearne FM, Rother FM, Trax FM and Hallam FM.

Social media users are encouraged to help spread these important messages by following #Illuminate.

Chief Inspector Glen Suttenwood, Head of Roads Policing for South Yorkshire and Humberside said: “Drivers within South Yorkshire can help us to work at reducing the numbers of fatalities on the roads within the county. The figures release last month show that 49 people have lost their lives in South Yorkshire as a result of a road traffic collision in the past year.

“We must all take responsibility for what happens in and around a vehicle that we are driving or travelling in. The campaign is also trying to reach out to family members of young drivers. We encourage them to speak to them and ensure they know the importance of speed limits, seatbelts, not taking any substances that could affect their ability to drive and challenging the use of electronic equipment, when in control of a motorised vehicle.”

Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “Every death on our roads is a tragedy, but it is even more keenly felt when it is a young person who loses their life. 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 the duration of this campaign, but every single day.”

The social media campaign will begin during the first week of August.

South Yorkshire Safer Roads partnership offers discounted bike qualification

If you ride a motorcycle or scooter you’ll know that they can sometimes be the quickest and almost certainly the most enjoyable way to travel from A to B, and with ever increasing fuel costs they can be a more cost effective method of commuting to work or college.

With increasing traffic volumes on our roads it is important that bikers and scooter riders are prepared for the unexpected, particularly when you consider that 75% of rider casualties in the Yorkshire & Humber region occur as a result of a collision with another vehicle.

Training and improving your skills is a life long necessity as a powered two wheeled rider and the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership are offering a discounted Sharp Rider course. The normal rate for the course is £100 but, after teaming up with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) the course is being offered at £20.

The ‘Post Test’ course is taken over two days, (second day at riders convenience), with workshops and practical on-road training, leading to a DSA riding assessment and certificate.  Suitable for riders who have just passed their full big bike test, are returning to riding after a break, upgrading to a more powerful motorcycle, or just want to check their riding standards.  For further details and to book a space click on SharpRider.

Young carers join fire service for a fun-filled experience day

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue(SYFR) partnered up with the Sheffield Young Carers charity to offer young carers from Sheffield the opportunity to take part in a firefighter experience day.

The day was held at the SYFR’s Training and Development Centre on Beaver Hill Road, Handsworth. Ten young carers were selected by the charity to go along for the day and learn some basic firefighter techniques.

The youngsters, all from the Sheffield area, were between the age of 12 and 14 and were all full time carers.

Wearing fire kit, they practiced various firefighting techniques including rolling out the hose, building an improvised dam and casualty extrication from a vehicle.

Nicola Hobbs, Watch Manager in community safety, said “I would like to personally thank the instructors at our training and development centre for making this day happen and making it very enjoyable for the kids. It is important to recognise that everyone has different responsibilities in life, and these young carers are an admirable representation of this. If we can offer some respite as a public service, as well as educate preventing fires, then we are more than happy to help in supporting their fantastic work.”

Sheffield Young Carers is an independent charity that has existed in Sheffield since 1997, dedicated to supporting children and young people aged 8-25 who live in the city and provide care for one or more family members.

Thousand flock to Penistone open day

More than 1,000 people attended an open day in Penistone, after firefighters threw open the doors of the fire station to local people.

Activities included a bouncy castle, face painting, chip pan display and fire engine rides provided by the National Emergency Services Museum. The event also raised £983 for charity.

Watch Manager Toby Bulcock said, “The fire station is a large part of the local community so we wanted to invite local people to come along and find out a little more about how things work here at the station. There were plenty of activities for all the family to enjoy it was a really good day out. Our firefighters were also able to offer visitors important road and fire safety advice.”

Penistone is a part time station situated on the edge of the Peak District National Park with an area which covers a large amount of woodland and open moorland as well as numerous small villages.Penistone station covers the surrounding areas of Penistone, Thurgoland, Thurlstone, and Castle Green.