South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Service responds to national report

Our Chief Fire Officer has responded to today’s report by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) on values and culture in the fire service nationally.

Chief Fire Officer Chris Kirby, said: “The HMICFRS report on values and culture makes difficult reading for anyone working in the fire and rescue service. It shouldn’t need saying- but there is absolutely no place for the negative behaviour and attitudes described in the report in any modern workplace.

“We have clear policies in place on bullying, harassment and discrimination and regularly work with staff networks and representative bodies to improve these. We also have a well-established set of staff behaviours which we expect all our people to follow.

“But we must never be complacent. That’s why we will be reviewing this new report in detail and looking to implement improvements to our own service where appropriate.

“We aspire to be a great place to work where everyone can be themselves. We will be using the findings of this report to further support our work towards this.”

Brand new campaign shines light on women in the fire service

A South Yorkshire recruitment campaign aims to change perceptions of women in the fire service.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s ‘A Firefighter Is A Firefighter’ campaign includes a new hard-hitting video, which highlights the fact that all firefighters meet the same standards and do the same job – regardless of their gender.

At the same time the service will be publishing a fresh episode of its official podcast, Shout, featuring women from across the service.

The service hopes the campaign can inspire more women across South Yorkshire to consider a role in the fire service.

Chief Fire Officer Chris Kirby, said: “I sincerely hope that women across South Yorkshire will listen to our podcast, watch our video, and consider registering their interest in a career with us.

“It’s hugely important that our workforce represents the communities we serve. We want to be an organisation that boasts a wide range of skills and delivers a first class service to the public, and we can’t do that without employing a brilliant, diverse range of people.”

The culture of the fire and rescue service has been in the news recently, with allegations made about the conduct of a minority of staff at services across the UK.

“Having worked in the sector myself for over 20 years, it’s extremely disappointing to hear about the poor experiences some people have had working in the fire and rescue service. Whilst I am confident that the vast majority of staff in South Yorkshire are committed to our values and behaviours, we accept and acknowledge that we are part of a sector which has work to do.

“We have already taken lots of steps internally, in the wake of the recent national findings and news stories, and something that I am keen to do is stress to people across South Yorkshire that we are an inclusive and welcoming organisation to join,” said Chris.

The campaign has been launched to coincide with International Women’s Day.

Last year, South Yorkshire became the first UK fire and rescue service to produce and display a ‘Women of Fire’ exhibition – displaying a range of portrait photographs in person at the Winter Gardens in Sheffield, and online via a dedicated website.

Meanwhile the service has a rich history when it comes to supporting International Women’s Day – with its ‘Firefighter Mums’ and ‘Anyone Can Be Anything’ videos inspiring hundreds of women to register an interest in firefighting careers.

Aspiring firefighters are still able to register their interest in said careers, via the service’s website.

Can you fill these boots? Rallying cry issued to local residents

Residents in Rossington, Stocksbridge, Askern, Penistone, Dearne and Birley are being challenged to step up and join their local fire crew, as the county’s fire service launches another on-call firefighter recruitment drive.

New vacancies have arisen at the stations in each of these areas – with more staff needed to keep the fire engines’ wheels turning and respond to fires, floods, road traffic collisions and other emergency incidents.

Fire officers say there has never been a better time to join the service and pursue what is a childhood dream for so many people.

South Yorkshire needs you

“Our message to local people is simple – we need them!” said Station Manager Chris Tyler, who oversees the service’s on-call fire stations.

“On-call firefighters get the same training as wholetime staff, but they don’t work shifts. Instead, they carry a pager and respond from work and home when needed.

“This is one of the most unique jobs in the world as it requires a huge amount of commitment, bravery and determination.

“What we are asking is for people to consider making themselves available to respond to emergencies on top of their existing jobs and personal family commitments.

“It’s a big ask, but it’s also a huge opportunity and an exciting time to join our service. We need incredible people to fill our boots, and we know they are out there somewhere.”

“We’ve long known how valuable our on-call crews are”

Prospective on-call firefighters are required to live or work within five minutes of their local station, so they are able to get on the fire engine quickly if needed.

Calls can come in at all times of day and night – with existing staff claiming the adrenaline rush that comes with getting a call is one of the best parts of the job.

On-call crews are used right across the country to provide fire cover to more remote areas, with firefighters getting a ‘retainer fee’ for being on stand by, plus an hourly rate on top.

Last year, on-call staff were involved in battling the flurry of wildfires attended by the service during the July and August 2022 heatwaves.

Officers say that without them, the service wouldn’t be able to run.

“We’ve long known how valuable our on-call crews are, but you only have to look at the heatwaves we experienced last year to see how important they are.

“Some of our staff finished a day at work, got changed and then got on the fire engine to help deal with the unprecedented demand we faced – on the hottest day of the year.

“Their commitment is incredible and I’d encourage anyone who feels they would like a challenge to get on our website and give us their details. We’ll be in touch.”

Find out more

You can register your interest in an on-call role with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue on the service’s website, here.