South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Fire service offers safety advice in light of virus pandemic

South Yorkshire’s firefighters are calling on people to take extra steps to keep themselves safe from fire, following the Government’s recent announcements on social distancing.

They say that, with thousands across the county expected to either self-isolate, work from home or generally stay away from others, it’s never been more important to think about fire safety.

And despite the fact that crews are continuing to respond to 999 emergencies as normal, senior fire officers are keen to limit potentially avoidable call outs.

“We’re certainly not trying to panic anyone here – nor take away from the very important health advice – as our firefighters are continuing to respond to calls as normal,” said Group Manager Matt Gillatt, head of the joint police and fire community safety team.

“What we are doing, though, is asking people who are spending more time than normal at home to have a think about fire safety and take on board some of our advice.

“Simple steps – like making sure you’ve got working smoke alarms – can make a huge difference in terms of how safe you and your family are at home.”

The service has boiled its top tips down to four key things – based on the leading causes of accidental house fire across South Yorkshire:

  1. Don’t leave cooking unattended and stop using chip pans – oven chips are safer
  2. Don’t leave clothes/towels near heaters, hobs, or candles
  3. Make sure your electrical items are in working order and don’t use faulty white goods
  4. Make sure you have working smoke alarms and test them weekly

As part of a new ‘Keep Fire Safe’ campaign – which has been developed in light of the pandemic – fire service staff will be posting safety advice booklets, through letterboxes, to homes in certain areas across the county in the coming weeks.

The campaign will also see the launch of a poster drawing competition for kids – with schools now closed for the foreseeable future – and an online safety quiz. Both of which give entrants the chance to win prizes for their efforts.

A specific home safety web page has also been set up, dedicated to people who are self-isolating, working from home and generally social distancing, at www.syfire.gov.uk/keepfiresafe.

“We’d love to see as many people take part in these two competitions as possible. Not only will it give the kids something to do, it will open up really important conversations about fire safety,” added Matt.

“Hopefully we can put a smile on some faces, too. We’ve got prizes on offer for both kids and adults which should be reason enough for people to enter!”

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Keep Fire Safe – home fire safety quiz

Whether you’re self-isolating, working from home or just social distancing, the likelihood is that you will be spending more time at home over the next few weeks.

This makes it even more important to make sure you and your loved ones are safe from fire.

That’s why we’ve developed the below quiz – to test your knowledge, get you thinking about fire safety AND give you the chance to win one of two £100 Amazon vouchers that we’ve got to give away.

#KeepFireSafe - Home Fire Safety Quiz

  • This form collects some personal information - which will be used to contact the randomly selected quiz winner and subsequently be destroyed. By submitting the form you are agreeing for your data to be used in this way.
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Social distancing and self-isolation – fire safety advice

Whether you are home working, self-isolating or social distancing, we know you’ll probably be spending more time at home over the next few weeks. This could increase the chances of you having a fire in your home.

Fortunately, by taking four easy steps, you can seriously reduce the risk to you and your loved ones:

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1.Don’t leave cooking unattended – and ditch the chip pan immediately

Distraction is the leading cause of house fire nationally. In fact, most of the cooking fires we attend are down to somebody starting cooking, forgetting about it and leaving it to burn. The rest usually involve chip pans – please use oven chips instead.

2.Make sure you’re not leaving clothes, tea-towels and other items near heaters, hobs and other heat sources

Another leading cause of house fire is people leaving things like clothes and tea-towels on hobs and portable heaters. Items like these can easily set on fire so it’s vital you keep them away from naked flames and other heat sources.

3.Check electrical appliances, don’t overload sockets and NEVER use faulty items or white goods

Extension leads can only handle so much power – plug too many things in and the chances are they will blow. Faulty goods can also be a big issue, too. If your washing machine or tumble dryer starts playing up – stop using it and get it checked immediately.

4.Make sure you have working smoke alarms and test them regularly

Smoke alarms save lives, but only if you have them and they are working. They can give you an early warning of a fire – early enough for you to get out safely. Buy them. Fit them. Test them.

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During what are very challenging times for us all we’d ask that, as well as taking on board this advice yourself, you pass the messages on to your friends, neighbours and relatives – especially those over 70-years-old.

Be assured, too, that accidental house fires are very rare and our firefighters stand ready to respond to 999 calls, across South Yorkshire, as and when needed.

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Local Updates – Doncaster Community Hub

We’re pleased to be supporting the Doncaster Community Hub. This has just been opened to support the most vulnerable during these extremely challenging times. It has been established by a range of organisations and will be based at the Doncaster Culture & Leisure Trust. The hub will provide:

· Helpline available 7 days a week from 8.00am to 8.00pm – Telephone: 01302 430300 – anyone can ring this if they are or know of someone who is vulnerable and has no other support
· Practical support such as urgent food supplies, shopping, hot food, collection of medication etc will be a priority
· Online chat, signposting and connecting people to other groups and volunteers to provide advice on exercising at home, keeping connected or just for regular contact
· A proactive team who will be calling vulnerable people to see how they are and find out if they need any support
· Helping to co-ordinate volunteers – collecting information about what voluntary and community sector can offer and supporting and co-ordinating voluntary effort
· There is also an email address: enquiries@dncommunityhub.org.uk and a web site: www.dncommunityhub.org.uk

Anyone self-isolating in Doncaster is urged to fill out a form online – www.doncaster.gov.uk/self-isolation-form – or call 01302 736000.

Local Updates – Rotherham Heroes

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council has set up a volunteer scheme – Rotherham Heroes – to support the district’s most vulnerable.

If you, or someone you know, is living alone, vulnerable and in need of help, the heroes are on hand. They can help with:

  • Essential shopping and dropping off food parcels
  • Being a friendly voice on the other end of the phone
  • Picking up prescriptions from the chemist
  • Taking your dog out for a walk once a day

To access the support – which should only be used by those who really need it – call 01709 807319 between 9am and 5pm. Alternatively you can complete a form on their website – www.rotherham.gov.uk/volunteer.

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New Deputy Chief Fire Officer for South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority (SYFRA) has appointed a new Deputy Chief Fire Officer.

Chris Kirby was appointed following a selection process which included a written application, leadership team presentation, interview by staff group and trade union representatives and panel interview with members of the Fire Authority.

Barnsley-born Chris will join South Yorkshire later this spring from West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, which he first joined as a firefighter in 1998.

The married father-of-three’s roles in West Yorkshire included acting as a breathing apparatus instructor, commanding the Kirklees district and taking charge of the service’s response and prevention work. He also led the service’s business fire safety work in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The former Wath Comprehensive School pupil also represented Rotherham at waterpolo for many years, winning the British Championships in 2008.

Fire Authority Chair Cllr Robert Taylor, said: “This was a really competitive process, but the whole panel was greatly impressed by Chris’ forward thinking and people centred approach. We are proud of the South Yorkshire’s reputation as being amongst the leading fire and rescue service’s in the country and we are confident this appointment will help the service to continually improve its service to the public.”

Chris said, “I am really pleased to be joining South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue. To be able to serve the communities where I grew up is a huge privilege and I look forward to meeting the people that make the service what it is. I have always been impressed with the people I have met and I hope to support the service in being a great place to work and to deliver an outstanding service to the communities of South Yorkshire.”

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Charity car wash events – March 2020

UPDATE:

Please note that all car wash events during March have been cancelled.

Firefighters will be washing cars throughout March as part of a national charity event.

The events are aimed at raising money for The Fire Fighter’s Charity, which supports injured firefighters and their families.

The following stations are taking part in the annual event during March.

Cancelled – Adwick station – Thursday 12 March – 2pm -5:30pm (Quarry Lane, Woodlands, Doncaster, DN6 7RT)

Cancelled – Rossington station – Saturday 28 March – 10am – 4pm (West End Lane, Rossington, Doncaster, DN11 0PQ)

Why not pop along to one of the above and get your car cleaned all in aid of The Fire Fighters charity.

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Sprinklers help save chip pan fire couple in Doncaster tower block

Sprinklers retrofitted in a high-rise block of flats in Doncaster helped to save the lives of two people, fire chiefs say.

A chip pan caught fire in one of the flats at Hatfield House in the borough at around 5.10am on Friday (21 February).

But fire sprinklers activated and suppressed the blaze, saving the flat and two people who were asleep inside.

Damage to the flat was limited to minor smoke and water damage, whilst the occupants suffered minor smoke inhalation.

Doncaster, Edlington and Adwick firefighters attended the incident. They worked hard to alert the residents to the fire, lead them to safety and make the scene safe. They left the incident just before 7am.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Head of Emergency Response Andy Strelczenie, said: “This incident is another example of how fire sprinklers can be a cost effective way of making certain types of residential dwellings safer – they stop fires from spreading, put them out quickly, save lives and have a long working life span.

“We’re proud of the reputation we’ve built nationally as a leading fire and rescue service for our long standing advocacy of the benefits of fire sprinklers.”

Arturo Gulla, Director of Property Services at St Leger Homes, said: “We take fire safety and prevention in our buildings incredibly seriously, and this incident shows just how effective the sprinkler systems we installed with funding from Doncaster Council and the support of SYFRS are in reducing fire damage, and more importantly protecting the lives of people in our high-rise buildings.

“We have installed fully operational sprinkler systems in all nine of the high-rise buildings we manage across the borough, and we are proud to be one of the first housing organisations in the country to achieve this.

“Our best wishes go to the people affected by this fire and we will do everything we can to support them as they recover from this experience.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has provided more than £1 million in match-funding fire sprinkler projects over the last five years. The service spent the money fitting fire sprinklers in around 650 flats across the county in a bid to prompt owners of accommodation for mostly vulnerable residents to consider fire sprinklers as a long term measure to keep their tenants safe.

Fire sprinklers in residential buildings remain topical with the second phase of the Grenfell Tower inquiry now underway and a review of building fire safety regulations ongoing

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Firefighters rescue man from Thorne canal

A big well done to Thorne White Watch who recently rescued a man who had fallen into a canal.

Fortunately, a passer-by noticed him in the dark and rushed to his aid. He managed to raise the alarm and keep hold of the man in the water until our firefighters arrived on the scene.

The crew took immediate action to manually lift him out, as it was apparent he was suffering from the effects of hypothermia. They provided him with first aid and wrapped him in blankets to raise his temperature until an ambulance arrived on the scene.

This incident happened just before 3am on Saturday (15 February) near West Street in Thorne.

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Fire service staff call out hurtful comments in defiant new video

South Yorkshire’s fire service is taking a stand against online trolls in a bid to show support to its staff, and communities, during LGBT+ History Month.

This comes in the form of a defiant new video that has been launched today, Monday 3 February, featuring some of the service’s employees.

Video featuring fire service staff played through YouTube

Video descriptive text transcript

It shows the staff members reading out some of the abusive, hurtful and homophobic comments made by people on Facebook after the organisation added a rainbow to its profile picture during Pride Month last June.

The service, which strives to be a diverse and inclusive employer, says it wants to show its LGBT+ staff, and communities, that they are valued and supported.

“We fully expect the video will have a mixed reaction but some of the comments we received last year were awful and totally unacceptable,” said Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson.

“We’ve produced it for two reasons – firstly we wanted to support the month and let our staff, and communities, know that we are proud to employ and serve them, regardless of those comments.

“And secondly we wanted to demonstrate that we are a genuinely inclusive organisation that values the contribution of all our staff, whatever their LGBT+ status.

“I’d encourage anyone considering a career in the fire service, especially those who may be inspired by our work around LGBT History Month, to register their interest on our website.”

Firefighters, control operators and support staff all feature in the video – which includes 11 employees reading 11 different comments.

The production is being supplemented by another video produced by the service, this one being specifically for staff and based on LGBT+ history.

Crew Manager Rebecca Savin, who is the South Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union LGBT Rep, hopes that the service’s stance will not only allow staff to bring their authentic selves to work but also encourage more people from the LGBT+ community to consider fire service careers.

She said: “We’ve come a long way recently in terms of diversity but there’s still more to do. It really is important that our workforce truly represents all of the communities we serve and visible acts of support like this can mean a lot to sometimes marginalised groups.”

“From a staff perspective I’m really pleased with the video. It’s great that, as an employer, SYFR wants to challenge these comments and stand up for its staff and the people it serves.”

Anyone who wants to register their interest in a job with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue can do so at www.syfire.gov.uk/jobs.

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Hundreds safer for decades thanks to £1 million fire service spending on sprinklers

Fire chiefs say hundreds of high-risk homes will be safer for decades to come, thanks to more than £1 million spent on fire sprinkler projects in the last five years.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue spent the money fitting fire sprinklers in around 650 flats across the county in a bid to prompt owners of accommodation for mostly vulnerable residents to consider fire sprinklers as a long term measure to keep their tenants safe.

More than 20 separate projects were awarded funding, with most of the money allocated match-funded by the building owners themselves.

An early beneficiary of the funding was the St Wilfrid’s Centre in Sheffield. Fire Sprinklers were installed in a new, 20-bed residential project which houses adults with complex needs.

High profile projects in Rotherham include a scheme to protect children with severe disabilities at a South Yorkshire Housing Association. The scheme was awarded £28,000 to retrofit fire sprinklers in a 15 flat facility on John Street in the town.

Funding for social housing developments in Barnsley means more than 100 Barnsley Council owned properties are protected.

Churchfields Sheltered housing, part of Berneslai Homes, was awarded funding for the retrofitting of automatic fire sprinklers in flats which mostly house older people.

Money was also spent to retrofit fire sprinklers at a high-rise block of flats in Doncaster- a decade after a similar scheme at Callow Mount in Sheffield highlighted the ease with which older tower blocks can be fitted with the potentially life-saving devices.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Steve Helps, said: “Fire Sprinkler systems can have a life span of well over 50 years, meaning this money will help to keep thousands people safe in these buildings for decades to come.

“Importantly, we’ve targeted our funding at properties where people are at a greater risk of fire for a range of factors including age, disability, mental health or substance misuse issues. Some of the schemes we’re most proud to have supported, are actually amongst the smallest, with relatively small amounts of money helping to protect small numbers of very vulnerable people in premises owned by charities and other organisations which wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford to pay for projects of this nature on their own.”

Fire sprinklers in residential buildings remain topical with the second phase of the Grenfell Tower inquiry now underway and a review of building fire safety regulations ongoing.

The Government announced it was considering lowering the threshold from 30 metres to 11 metres tall for fire sprinklers to be installed in new build high rise buildings.

“Fire Sprinklers are a cost effective way of making businesses and residential dwellings safer – they stop fires from spreading, put them out quickly, save lives and have a long working life span. We’re proud of the reputation we’ve built nationally as a leading fire and rescue service for our long standing advocacy of the benefits of fire sprinklers. The projects we’ve funded are just another example of our work in this area,” said Steve.

Money for all of the funded projects came from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s Stronger Safer Communities Reserve, which used money set aside from the Authority’s reserves.

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