South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Bonfire and firework advice

Bonfires

If you’re planning to have a bonfire at any time, but particularly during this firework period, please follow some simple safety guides to help you, your family, pets and wildlife stay safe.

Building your bonfire

  • Build your bonfire well away from, and clear of, buildings, garden sheds, fences, hedges and overhanging branches
  • Keep it to a manageable size and evenly built, so that it collapses inwards as it burns
  • Do not include plastics, household items or rubber in your fire

Lighting your bonfire

  • It is dangerous to use flammable liquids to help start a bonfire such as petrol or kerosene, use firelighters.
  • Do not burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries
  • Do not throw anything in the fire
  • Tell neighbours you are going to have a bonfire to avoid non-essential 999 calls

Double check

  • The bonfire’s construction is still sound before lighting it
  • There are no children or wildlife hiding in the fire
  • No hazardous items such as aerosols, sealed cans or fireworks have been thrown onto it

Remember

  • Never leave bonfires unattended – we recommend a bonfire should be supervised by an adult until it has burnt out
  • Once you are finished with the bonfire, dampen it down fully with water making sure that the embers are extinguished and surroundings are made safe before leaving
  • Keep a bucket of water or hosepipe nearby in case of an emergency
  • If the bonfire becomes out of control and catches foliage or property alight – call 999 immediately
  • If your clothes catch fire remember to STOP, DROP and ROLL and cool burns under running water for at least 20 minutes

Fireworks

Fireworks are something that can be enjoyed by all the family, but should be used safely, carefully and lawfully. Have a person dedicated to lighting your fireworks who is over 18 and remember that alcohol and fireworks do not mix.

If you are planning on having a firework display, you can help to avoid an emergency and/or upset by following our top tips:

  • Ensure the firework is the correct way up and secure – light at arms length using a taper and stand well back
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box away from the lighting location
  • Only buy fireworks that are CE marked and follow the instructions
  • Never go back to a firework that has been lit and don’t throw them or put them in your pocket
  • Keep pets indoors and let your neighbours know you’re having a display
  • Stick to the law – you can’t set off fireworks in public places and can’t set them off between 11pm and 7am – except for Bonfire Night when the cut off is midnight

Sparklers

  • Supervise children with sparklers at all times
  • Stick the end in a halved carrot to make it easier for little hands to hold
  • Light one sparkler at a time and wear gloves
  • Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for used sparklers
  • Let them fully cool before throwing them away

Useful information

Working Together on Firework Displays – The Blue Firework Guide –  This guide is specifically intended for organisers of firework displays, or events where fireworks are to be used, where the display is setup, fired and derigged by a professional display company and professional display companies as the basic information to enable them to communicate effectively with an event organiser to achieve a safe and effective display.

Giving Your Own Firework Display – The Red Firework Guide – The advice in this publication covers only those firework displays, normally at pubs, clubs or charity gatherings, where the organisers set off the fireworks themselves and have no specialist knowledge.

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Emergency services issue guidance ahead of ‘different’ bonfire period

South Yorkshire’s emergency services are urging people to be sensible and stay safe over the coming weeks, during what they say will be a ‘very different’ bonfire period for everyone.

Trick or treating is being discouraged, in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as are Halloween and bonfire parties that break the current social distancing rules set out by the Government.

Meanwhile, firefighters are asking people to take extra care with fireworks and to avoid having garden bonfires that could grow out of control and tie up fire service resources.

The guidance comes as part of Operation Dark Nights – a campaign that is run jointly by the county’s three emergency services each year.

“We know how much people look forward to Halloween and the bonfire period, and clearly we don’t want to spoil the party after a tough year, but it’s so important that people stay safe,” said South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Station Manager Steve Jones, who helps lead the joint police and fire community safety department.

“With big, organised bonfire and firework displays being cancelled across the county, we expect people will be tempted to do their own. This is fine, but we do ask that people be sensible and take note of our advice around this.”

“Firstly, we really don’t want people be having garden bonfires. They spread so easily and tie up our resources. However, if you must have one, keep it away from trees, sheds and fences, and never use petrol or other accelerants to get it going.

“Secondly, if you’re going to use fireworks, only use genuine ones, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and, please, be sensible. Also, remember there are laws around when you can and can’t set them off.

“Last, but not least, is a plea around helping stop the spread of coronavirus. Please ensure you stick to the current laws and guidance. We all need to keep doing our bit and not use Bonfire Night as an excuse to let our guards down.”

Traditionally, staff from both the police and fire service have visited schools to talk to children about anti-social behaviour, trick or treating, fireworks and all things Bonfire Night. These visits won’t be taking place this year, due to the pandemic.

However, a joint effort between both agencies means that school pupils will still be getting vital input on these subjects. Instead of visiting each school, firefighters and police officers have filmed a series of videos that will be played in classrooms across South Yorkshire.

South Yorkshire Police Superintendent Sarah Poolman said: “We know this year will be different for everyone, but we want to ensure that however you celebrate, you are safe.

“It is important that whilst celebrating we don’t forget about Covid-19 and remember that we all still have a responsibility to keep each other safe.

“Your neighbourhood officers will be on patrol in the evenings to tackle any anti-social behaviour and breaches of the Covid-19 guidelines.

“As we increase our patrols, please remember that this is an extremely busy time for officers and call takers in the control room. We are asking our communities to think before you call 999 or 101.

“We have to prioritise the calls coming in to ensure our officers can respond to the most time critical and serious of incidents. We are asking those reporting a non-emergency crime do so through the online reporting form on our website.”

Speaking on behalf of Yorkshire Ambulance Service, Locality Manager, Jeremy Seymour, said: “The volume of work for Yorkshire Ambulance Service has significantly increased over the last two weeks and this has been reflected in the change to the local COVID Alert level this week in South Yorkshire.

“The Ambulance Service, as well as all local hospitals, are working extremely hard to provide the services everyone needs and deserves. We will continue to provide the emergency pre hospital care and support whenever and wherever we are needed.

“Please help us to protect you and the people closest to you by continuing to follow the advice given and support the Ambulance service to concentrate on those most in need.”

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Fire service exhibition goes digital to mark Black History Month

South Yorkshire’s fire service is taking its one-of-a-kind Black History Month exhibition online this October, in a bid to attract more people from BAME backgrounds to consider a fire and rescue service career.

Family, which was put together last year to pay homage to the diverse heritage of fire service staff, features portrait photographs of 11 employees past and present.

The portraits were exhibited at various locations across Sheffield last October – including the train station, Winter Gardens and Moor Market – inspiring a huge increase in people from African and Caribbean backgrounds registering their interest in a career with the service.

And now, ahead of this year’s Black History Month, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is taking the exhibition online to showcase the photographs in a COVID-safe way.

One thing that does remain the same, fire officers say, is the aim – to celebrate the contribution of staff and encourage more people, with diverse heritage, to consider a job within the fire service.

“We were keen to showcase the exhibition once again this year, following the fantastic reaction we had last year, but sadly most of the public places we had in mind are either closed or extremely quiet,” said Station Manager Delroy Galloway, who features in the exhibition and played a crucial role in pulling it together.

“However, fire services are used to having to adapt, and that’s what we have done. I’m delighted that we’re still going to be able to showcase the wonderful images and tell the stories of the people behind them.

“We want to show people from BAME backgrounds that a career in the fire and rescue service could be for them, and I’d really encourage anyone thinking about it to check out the digital exhibition, get inspired and register their interest with us today.”

Each of the portraits featured on the website were taken by Orestes Rix, a member of the service’s finance team who specialises in portrait photography outside his day job.

Click here to see the online exhibition, which includes the photographs and additional detail around why Black History Month is so important.

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Have your say on draft risk management plan

South Yorkshire’s fire service wants people to have their say on its draft Integrated Risk Management Plan 2021-24.

This is a plan which explains how the fire service will keep local people safe over the next few years.

You can read a PDF of our draft Integrated Risk Management Plan 2021 to 2024 here or view it as HTML here

You can have your say on the plan using our online survey here

Amongst the issues we want your views on is our expected response times for different types of incident, which have been published in the draft plan.

We will still aim to attend every single 999 call as quickly as we possibly can, but that having a set of published response times will make us more accountable to local people, help us to improve our service and bring us in line with most other services around the country.

Currently we simply aim to get to all emergencies as fast as we can, every time. A national inspection reported that it was undesirable for the service not to have a set of response standards.

The proposed new response time arrangements take into account whether a person’s life is at risk, as well as the level of risk in different parts of the county based on historical incident data and other information.

The results of the consultation will be considered before a final version of the Integrated Risk Management Plan 2021-24 is presented to the Fire Authority in January.

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Fire service issues ‘don’t cook drunk’ plea to students this winter

Fire officers in Sheffield are asking local students not to cook whilst drunk this winter and, instead, help keep fire engines free for more serious emergencies.

The plea follows the Government’s recent announcement that pubs must now close at 10pm, which firefighters feel could prompt an increase in home drinking, cooking and parties.

They say that this, in turn, could lead to an increase in call outs to student accommodation across the city – something South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is keen to prevent.

“We absolutely recognise how important it is that students enjoy their time at university, especially with what’s going on in the world right now, but we want to make sure they do it safely,” said Station Manager John Billings, who heads up the team at Central fire station.

“Something we’re very mindful of is that, with pubs now closing earlier to help stop the spread of COVID-19, students may be inclined to take the party back to their accommodation. We’ve no problem with this.

“Where we may have a problem, however, is if people start to act carelessly. From our perspective this can be extremely dangerous. Time and time again we are called to fires which have started when people have left the oven on and forgotten, or fallen asleep, due to alcohol or drugs.

“We’ve also attended lots of false alarms in the past where students have set fire alarms off for fun, or e-cigarettes and smoking have triggered smoke detection systems. Alcohol has been known to play a part in many of these cases, too.”

In order to reduce the risk to students, and to prevent an increase in calls, the service is asking them to do three things:

  • Get a takeaway rather than cooking drunk
  • Be mindful of smoke alarms when vaping or smoking
  • Do not use fire alarm call points unless there is a genuine emergency

These requests, which officers feel are reasonable, come ahead of a national Student Safety Week in October that SYFR has pledged to support.

“We think what we’re asking is fair and simple – we’re not trying to spoil anyone’s fun and don’t believe what we’re asking will have a huge impact on any big nights in,” added John.

“What it will do, though, is keep people safe, prevent our crews having to crash any parties and stop accommodation from being damaged or destroyed by fire.”

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Draft risk management plan published

South Yorkshire’s fire service presented its latest plans for keeping local people safe next week – including proposals for how quickly it should respond to different types of emergency.

You can read our Draft Integrated Risk Management Plan 2021 to 2024 here.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it will still aim to attend every single 999 call as quickly as it possibly can, but that having a set of published response times will make it more accountable to local people, help it to improve its service and bring them in line with most other services around the country.

Currently the service simply aims to get to all emergencies as fast as it can, every time. A national inspection reported that it was undesirable for the service not to have a set of response standards.

The proposed new response time arrangements will take into account whether a person’s life is at risk, as well as the level of risk in different parts of the county based on historical incident data and other information.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Kirby said: “Adopting a more risk based approach allows us to ensure we are placing resources in the right places at the right time to best protect the communities we serve. This includes the work we do around preventing fires, protecting buildings and responding to incidents when they do occur.

“We will still aim to get to each emergency as fast as we can, but having a set of response times means we can measure our performance to ensure we are delivering the best possible service to our communities with the resources we have available to us.”

The response time proposals follow initial consultation with more than 3,000 local people and a thorough analysis of the different risks faced by the fire service in South Yorkshire.

They form part of the service’s latest draft ‘Integrated Risk Management Plan’. This is a plan which explains the different risks in South Yorkshire how the fire service intends to address them with the resources it has available.

The draft plan was discussed by members of the service’s governing Fire Authority on Monday (14 September), who instructed the service to begin a further period of consultation with staff and the public.

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Calais to London mileage mission for Sheffield man’s Red Cross refugee cause

A Sheffield man is attempting to ‘run’ between Calais and London in a bid to raise cash and awareness for refugees.

Steve Kay, aged 36, has already clocked up 50 miles in his 108 miles mission to support the British Red Cross, which offers support, food and hygiene to refugees and people seeking asylum.

Steve, who works in the ICT team at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, said: “2020 has been a tough year for many people across the world, but most of these hardships are a drop in the ocean compared to the horrors that refugees face in search of a better life for themselves and their families. Many refugees are forced to flee war-torn countries and are left with nothing, and the British Red Cross offer a vital lifeline in the form of supplies, communication and transport that serves to help them start a new life.”

Steve aims to have reached his mileage target- which matches the distance between Calais and London- by the end of September.

He’s already raised more than £400 for the British Red Cross, which aims to help people in crisis whoever and wherever they are.

People can sponsor Steve here https://miles-for-refugees-2020.everydayhero.com/uk/steven-kay

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Firefighters graduate with live-streamed passing parade

The 65th firefighter recruits graduated with a passing out parade at the service’s training centre on Friday (7 September).

With large gatherings still not permitted, the ceremony was live streamed so that friends and families of the ten recruits could watch from home.

Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson and Fire Authority Chair Cllr Robert Taylor both addressed the recruits.

The recruits were all presented with their certificates, before the award for top recruit was made to Paul Barrett.

You can watch the ceremony for yourselves on our YouTube Channel here

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Fire service publishes new 999 response time proposals in latest risk plan

South Yorkshire’s fire service will present its latest plans for keeping local people safe next week – including proposals for how quickly it should respond to different types of emergency.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it will still aim to attend every single 999 call as quickly as it possibly can, but that having a set of published response times will make it more accountable to local people, help it to improve its service and bring them in line with most other services around the country.

Currently the service simply aims to get to all emergencies as fast as it can, every time. A national inspection reported that it was undesirable for the service not to have a set of response standards.

The proposed new response time arrangements will take into account whether a person’s life is at risk, as well as the level of risk in different parts of the county based on historical incident data and other information.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Kirby said: “Adopting a more risk based approach allows us to ensure we are placing resources in the right places at the right time to best protect the communities we serve. This includes the work we do around preventing fires, protecting buildings and responding to incidents when they do occur.

“We will still aim to get to each emergency as fast as we can, but having a set of response times means we can measure our performance to ensure we are delivering the best possible service to our communities with the resources we have available to us.”

The response time proposals follow initial consultation with more than 3,000 local people and a thorough analysis of the different risks faced by the fire service in South Yorkshire.

They form part of the service’s latest draft ‘Integrated Risk Management Plan’. This is a plan which explains the different risks in South Yorkshire how the fire service intends to address them with the resources it has available.

The draft plan will be discussed by members of the service’s governing Fire Authority on Monday (14 September), before a further period of consultation with staff and the public.

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Recruitment opens for on-call firefighters across South Yorkshire

Six fire stations across South Yorkshire are recruiting now for on-call firefighters, with anyone interested urged to act quickly before the current recruitment window closes.

New recruits are needed at Penistone, Stocksbridge, Askern, Rossington, Birley and Dearne to help crews there respond to emergency calls and carry out important prevention work.

Anyone interested is urged to register their interest on the service’s website, here. Information about the next steps will then be sent out in due course.

On-call firefighters are local people who live or work within five minutes of their stations. They carry a pager when they are on-duty that alerts them when they are needed.

“The role our on-call firefighters play is vital – these are extraordinary people who drop everything when needed to attend emergency incidents in their local areas,” said SYFR Station Manager, Chris Tyler.

“They are given the same training as our full-time firefighters and, rightly, get exactly the same buzz, camaraderie and kudos that comes with such an important job.

“Our recruitment window will close at the end of September so I’d encourage anyone who wants to test themselves and fulfil this common childhood dream to act now.

“That especially includes anyone who is unsure whether this is the job for them. These are flexible roles and we will support people who have the right attitude and commitment.”

On-call staff are paid an annual ‘retainer’ fee and then get paid for each incident they attend. They are also paid for any community work they carry out and weekly training on station.

The flexible and adaptable nature of on-call firefighting means that it can be done on top of other full-time work, study or family commitments.

More information on the role can be found here. Alternatively, www.oncallfire.uk provides more detail about the major, national on-call recruitment drive that was launched last year.

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