South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Men’s mental health group prepares for Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge

Firefighters from across the country are joining SYFR’s weekly mental health walking group, Walk and Talk 999, in walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

The Walk Leaders, Jim Bright, Matt Winslow and Nick Abbott, will be leading the trek on Saturday 10 September in support of World Suicide Prevention Day and to raise money for The Firefighters Charity and Calm Suicide Awareness Charity.

They will be supported by firefighters from the London Fire Brigade and Norwich.

Walk Leader and Group Manager Nick Abbott said: “We’re all very much looking forward to tackling this challenge and for such an important cause.

“We’re incredibly proud of this little community we have built together. We support each other on the good and the bad days and offer a place for men to offload, laugh, cry, joke and rant. We’ll need to be there for each other as we tackle this epic walking challenge!”

Kirsty Thorley, Health and Wellbeing Manager at SYFR said: “We know that across the country, men are struggling with their mental health. Statistics show us that males are 3 times more likely to die from suicide than females and that is why we whole heartedly support the Walk and Talk 999 initiative. It not only helps raise awareness of men’s mental health and boost the wellbeing of our staff but the walks also provide a safe space where people can be supported without judgement, whilst promoting physical activity and taking advantage of fresh air and a change of scenery.

Alex Bowers, Community Fundraiser for The Fire Fighters Charity said: “The Fire Fighters Charity offers specialist, lifelong support for members of the UK fire services community, empowering individuals to achieve mental, physical and social wellbeing throughout their lives.

“We couldn’t do this without the support of individuals, businesses and groups like Walk and Talk 999 taking on challenges and fundraising for us.  If you would like to support The Fire Fighters Charity please visit our website for more information.”

SYFR’s Walk and Talk 999 group is the latest which has been set up after a firefighter from London Fire Brigade, Dean Corney, set up a weekly men’s mental health walking group for firefighters, which helps them to talk about whatever may be troubling them.

Each session starts with a simple check-in circle where people share how they’re feeling on a scale of one to ten. They also share something positive that’s going on in their lives. Everything people say at the session is strictly confidential – and the group are asked not to interrupt or challenge when someone’s speaking.

The Walk and Talk 999 model has been endorsed by the likes of TV’s Dr Rangan Chatterjee and Dr Alex George and has been highlighted as a case study by the mental health charity Mind.

The walks are held every Tuesday at 10am at Graves Park, Sheffield and are open to all male Fire and Rescue and emergency services colleagues (both current and retired).

There is no need to book, just turn up to the meeting point at the Pavilion car park.

SYFR celebrate double win at Cutlers Awards

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue staff members are celebrating a double award win at the Cutlers’ Company Police and Fire Service annual awards in recognition of their exemplary service.

The Service’s Sprinkler Advocate, Roger Branson (pictured above), received the Individual Award in recognition for his expertise, dedication and relentless championing of sprinklers which has had a monumental impact in his service, community and sector.

His leading role in the retrofitting of sprinklers in a high-rise block of flats at Callow Mount in Sheffield 12 years ago is now hailed around the world as proof of the relatively low costs of installing sprinklers in tower blocks.

He has since overseen nearly £2 million of grant funding in South Yorkshire to install sprinklers in high-risk homes.

The Building Risk Review team received the Team Award for their incredible work carried out following the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

The project required all high rise residential buildings within scope to be inspected and a specific data set be returned to the National Fire Chief’s Council no later than by the end of 2021.

In August 2020, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s Business Fire Safety Department established a specific team of officers to set up a project group to deal with this task.

This project has generated a huge amount of work for the team – more than 200 buildings were inspected and 520 jobs issued to inspectors.

It was a full team effort, with some of the work issued out to officers within the Business Fire Safety (BFS) department and operational staff on modified duties.

Thanks to the efforts the project was completed well within the required timescale.

The awards were hosted by the Master Cutler, Mr James Tear, and Mistress Cutler, Mrs Jo Tear on Monday 18 July.

Fire Authority names new Assistant Chief Fire Officer

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

Andy Strelczenie was appointed following a selection process which included a written application, operational assessment and three interviews – including a final one with members of the Fire Authority’s appointments committee.

Andy has worked within the fire and rescue service for 26 years, originally at Hereford and Worcester Fire & Rescue Service before transferring to South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.

He was previously an Area Manager at SYFR and has been our Head of Emergency Response for three years, more recently overseeing Service Development, Business Fire Safety, HMICFRS inspection planning and our work with the National Fire Chief’s Council.

In his new role, Andy will lead on the delivery of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s service improvement plan and community risk management plans.

Fire Authority Chair Cllr Tony Damms, said: “It’s incredibly important that our fire and rescue service is well led, which is why the selection process for senior roles such as this is so rigorous. The qualities Andy demonstrated during the process will all be needed to drive forward improvement across the organisation, enabling it to provide the best possible service to the communities it serves.”

Andy said: “I am incredibly proud of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and honoured to be appointed the service Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

“We aspire to become one of the UK’s leading fire and rescue services and I look forward to further supporting that ambition in my new role – working with our fantastic staff to make sensible improvements to the way we deliver our services whilst putting the needs of our communities first.”