South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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South Yorkshire firefighters to carry ‘smoke hoods’ to aid escapes

Firefighters in South Yorkshire have started carrying fire escape hoods to protect members of the public from toxic smoke at fires.

The smoke hoods provide members of the public with up to 15 minutes protection from four of the main fire gases (carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen chloride and acrolein) and can be worn by conscious or unconscious people. If more than 15 minutes protection is required then another hood can be given to each wearer.

They do not provide oxygen, but temporarily filter toxic smoke to make breathing easier. Firefighters will be able to offer people a hood to wear whilst they are being rescued and they will also be used to protect those who aren’t able to escape easily, such as the elderly or wheelchair users.

Head of Emergency Response Andy Strelczenie, said: “Smoke from fires is extremely toxic and just a few breaths can render you unconscious. These hoods filter out the most dangerous gases.

“These hoods will also provide firefighters with vital extra time to consider their priorities and plan the safest exit route, as opposed to simply getting people out as quickly as possible.

“Fire crews have been trained in their use and we think the money we’ve spent on them is a relatively small price to pay for something which has the potential to save someone’s life.”

More than 100 of the hoods have been bought, under a National Fire Chief’s Council procurement framework.

Smoke hoods are amongst the innovations fire and rescue services were recommended to adopt following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

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Firefighters to start delivering vaccines across Sheffield

Firefighters from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) will be supporting Sheffield GP practices by delivering COVID-19 vaccines.

This comes just over a month after a number of fire service volunteers were trained up as vaccinators by St John Ambulance, and is part of a huge national effort from fire services across the country to help with the pandemic response.

The agreement – struck by Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson, and leaders at NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group – will see firefighters and fire service support staff giving vaccinations at practices across the city.

Fire and rescue staff have already delivered more than 250,000 vaccines nationally, but local bosses say they are keen to get this number even higher and help protect people across South Yorkshire from the virus.

“Our purpose is to make South Yorkshire safer and stronger, which is why since the start of the pandemic we have stood ready, willing and able to help in any way we can,” said the service’s Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson.

“So far we have delivered food and medicine to isolated people, distributed 1.3 million pieces of PPE to frontline health workers and worked with military planners to identify vaccination sites, but we want to do more.

“That’s why we have supported our staff to get vaccinator training, thanks to St John Ambulance, and why we have offered our help to the CCG in Sheffield.

“The vaccination programme is a huge national effort and, whilst I’m really proud that my staff have stood up and offered to contribute, I’m not at all surprised – as a service we exist to help people in need and that is exactly what we are doing here.”

Alun Windle, Chief Nurse and Covid Vaccination Lead at NHS Sheffield CCG, said: “We are really pleased to have South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service on board helping deliver the vaccination programme in Sheffield.

“Vaccines offer us the best chance of returning to normal and relaxing lockdown restrictions for good, it’s vital we keep on vaccinating people. The support from SYFR will help us reach the target to offer all adults their first vaccination by 31 July.”

The request for support from SYFR came from the CCG at a meeting of the South Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum on Thursday 27 May.

The forum is made up of public agencies from right across South Yorkshire – including fire, police and health services – and members have met every week since the start of the pandemic to co-ordinate the local response.

People aged 30 and over are now being invited for vaccination, if you’re aged 30 and over have yet to have your vaccination you can book online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by contacting 119. If you’re aged over 50, have a long term condition or are a health and social care worker you can also contact your GP to book.

The service’s core 999 response will not be affected by this work.

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Three South Yorkshire fire service staff named in national honours list

Three fire and rescue staff from South Yorkshire are named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021.

Control room operator Jess Grayson has been awarded the British Empire Medal.

She was named a BEM for services to mental health, having used her own mental health experiences to spearhead attempts to tackle the wellbeing issues firefighters and other emergency services workers face.

Alongside her day-to-day duties in the control room Jess, a Watch Manager, also trained resilience staff brought in to support the service’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fleur Holland and Alex Johnson are the other members of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue staff to have received honours, each being named recipients of the Queen’s Fire Service Medal.

During the pandemic, Watch Manager Fleur used her role within the service’s community safety team to help coordinate the delivery of hundreds of food parcels and thousands of prescriptions to people with no other means of support.

Acutely aware of the impact the pandemic was having on the mental health younger people, she also used her role as one of the service’s youth engagement leads to organise a fundraising challenge for the service’s fire cadets. This was as a way of getting the young cadets, some of whom come from vulnerable backgrounds, to channel their physical and mental energy into something positive. The ‘999 challenge’ she inspired was adopted by fire cadets branches nationally and has raised more than £6,000 for The Fire Fighter’s Charity.

Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson has led the county’s fire and rescue service throughout the pandemic, after becoming South Yorkshire’s first female Chief Fire Officer in 2020.

She joined joined Derbyshire Fire & Rescue as a firefighter in 1992, serving at stations across the county during a successful career in which she rose to the rank of Area Manager. She joined South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in 2017 as Assistant Chief Fire Officer, before being promoted to Deputy Chief Fire Officer and then Chief Fire Officer.

For many years, Alex has been a member of the Executive Committee of Women in the Fire Service, a national network which supports the development of women in the fire sector. In 2019 she was named the ‘most influential woman in fire’ by FIRE magazine.

Outstanding men and women from fire and rescue services right across the United Kingdom are nominated to receive national honours each year, although only a tiny proportion of those nominations are successful.

For more information on the honours system, visit the government website here.

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