South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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South Yorkshire’s first Emergency First Responder scheme

Firefighters at Stocksbridge station will be responding to medical emergencies as they become the first in South Yorkshire to take part in the Emergency First Responder (EFR) scheme.

The scheme is a joint initiative between South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) which will see firefighters being called out to certain life-threatening incidents at the same time as an ambulance.

Training has included basic life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and oxygen therapy. They are equipped with a kit which includes oxygen and an automated external defibrillator (AED) to help patients in a medical emergency such as a heart attack, collapse or breathing difficulties.

An EFR will be despatched at the same time as an ambulance and will not replace the usual emergency medical response from YAS. However, their location within the local community could mean they are nearer to the scene in those first critical minutes of a medical emergency, delivering life-saving care until an ambulance arrives.

Emergency First Responders are only available for dispatch when staffing levels at their fire station allow and the scheme will not impact fire cover.

Head of Emergency Response at SYFR Phil Shillito said: “Our role as a fire service will always be to protect our communities and reach and save those who are in danger as quickly as possible. Our firefighters already do a great job of performing a wide range of duties beyond traditional firefighting – from attending flooding incidents to rescuing people from road traffic collisions. So I think it’s only natural for us to look for other ways to extend our skills and support the work of other local bodies, like the ambulance service.

“With this in mind, this partnership can only enhance the service we provide and will improve outcomes for people in need across South Yorkshire.”

Paul Stevens, Head of Community Resilience at YAS, said: “We have a responsibility to ensure we explore every available option to improve clinical outcomes for people in South Yorkshire and we are delighted to be working in partnership with SYFR on the county’s Emergency First Responder scheme.

“We have a very clear ambition to improve the survival rate for those people who suffer from a cardiac arrest in the community. We want to have world class levels of survival from cardiac arrest and the expansion of this initiative is another important element in saving more lives.”

Attack on fire engine

Firefighters at Elm Lane fire station were returning from an incident at 7pm on Tuesday evening. While at the roundabout in Firth Park the fire engine was attacked by objects being thrown. Luckily no firefighters were injured and only very minor damage was done to the fire engine.

South Yorkshire Police have been informed and are investigating the incident.

Area Manager Mick Mason at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue said; “We are absolutely appalled that our firefighters appear to have been targeted in this way.

“Attacks like this place the safety of our firefighters, and the people they are trying to protect, at risk. But thankfully, this type of incident is extremely rare in South Yorkshire and it is only a tiny minority of people who would ever consider acting in such an irresponsible and dangerous way.

“Attacks on firefighters are falling and we believe the introduction of CCTV on fire engines has contributed to this fall.

“However, even one attack on a firefighter is unacceptable – and we will work alongside the police to fully investigate any attacks and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”

If you have any information about this attack please call police via 101 and quoting incident number 885 from the 13 October or email

Smoke alarm giveaway for private landlords

South Yorkshire landlords are being urged to act now to ensure they comply with new safety laws aimed at saving lives.

From 1 October, all private landlords must now fit smoke alarms on each floor of their rental properties and install carbon monoxide alarms in rooms containing solid fuel burners – such as cookers and heaters – or face a £5,000 fine.

To help landlords gear up for the new regulations, the Government has provided fire services with a limited number of free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to give out to relevant landlords. South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is giving away smoke alarms to eligible landlords at two events whilst stocks last.

Station Manager Spencer Rowland, said: “The private rented sector provides homes for some of the county’s most vulnerable groups and there is no doubt that these regulations will make privately rented accommodation safer and save lives.

“We want to help South Yorkshire’s private landlords meet their fire safety responsibilities under this new law and would urge them to apply for their free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms well in advance of the new laws coming into force this October.

“Tenants can also play a part in taking responsibility for their own safety by reminding their landlords about the new legislation if there are no smoke or carbon monoxide alarms in their home.”

The two ‘safety in the home’ events where private landlords can collect alarms for a maximum of 10 properties are being held at the fire service training centre, Beaver Hill Road, Sheffield on Friday 16 October and Saturday 24 October from 10am to 4pm.

Government consultation on emergency services collaboration

The Government is committed to driving increased collaboration between the emergency services to deliver more effective and efficient services for the public.

With that in mind a consultation document has been issued by the Home Office, Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) and Department for Health (DoH).

The closing date for comments is Friday 23rd October 2015, and you can respond direct (details within the consultation document).

You can view the consultation document and have your say here

Sheffield firefighters named best of the best

A fire crew from Sheffield is celebrating after coming out on top in a national competition to test firefighters’ search and rescue skills in heat and smoke.

Central White Watch were awarded first place in the UK finals of the Breathing Apparatus (BA) challenge which saw them compete against 15 other fire crews from across the UK, including from West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Hertfordshire.

Each team tackled a series of scenarios involving the rescue of ‘casualties’ from inside smoke-filled buildings. Judges at the competition, held at the Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh, named the Central crew overall winners after they scored highest in the best BA team and best officer in charge categories.

A second team from South Yorkshire, made up of firefighters based at the service’s training and development centre in Handsworth, also took part in the contest which officers say is proof of the skill and professionalism of the county’s crews.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden, said: “We’re very proud that a crew from South Yorkshire took first place in a national competition that was filled with extremely professional, highly-skilled firefighters. The standard was very, very high, and for our crew to perform to such a high standard on the national stage is a fantastic achievement.

“Since arriving in South Yorkshire this spring, I’ve been convinced that the service is amongst the best in the country at what it does. Winning this competition is further proof of that.”

Judges scored crews in a number of different skill areas including BA search and rescue, firefighting while in BA, pump operator, BA entry control officer and incident command.

Fire service hospice link up launched

A first-of-its-kind partnership between the fire service and Rotherham Hospice will see vital fire safety education delivered to hundreds of people suffering life limiting illnesses.

The new scheme, launched to coincide with National Hospice Care Week, will see staff from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue deliver training to hospice nursing staff plus fire safety advice to patients and their families.

Patients may be referred to receive a home safety check, whereby fire service staff visit a person’s home, explain to them how to make it safer and fit smoke alarms for free if needed.

Rotherham Hospice also runs a bereavement group for young people. The fire service hopes to positively engage with youngsters aged five to 18 who are experiencing pre or post bereavement grief relating to a loved one with palliative care needs.

Fire officers hope that by launching this scheme they can make a real difference to the wellbeing of the hundreds of patients Rotherham Hospice works with.

Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “We aren’t aware of any other partnership around the country which sees fire safety education delivered to people receiving end of life care in this way.

“As a service which is here to make the lives of everyone in South Yorkshire safer, we think it is only right that we give the same level of fire safety advice to people receiving end of life care as anyone else in our community.

“We completely understand that for many of the families the hospice works with, who have so many other things to think about, fire safety probably isn’t at the top of their list of priorities. But by offering some simple fire prevention tips in a sympathetic way, we think we can do something small to make the lives of service users safer.”

The fire service hopes that, if successful, the scheme can be replicated at other hospices throughout South Yorkshire.

Diane Keeley, Head of Patient and Family Support Services at Rotherham Hospice, said: “This vital connection with the fire service will benefit our patients, their families and carers, key staff and volunteers- particularly with regard to fire safety education. The partnership will contribute positively to the holistic care planning across all Rotherham Hospice service areas”.

Staff training will give skills to staff and volunteers to quickly recognise any safety concerns within a patient’s home environment. It will also give hospice staff the information they need to know how to effectively refer for a fire service home safety check.

The introduction of educative and fun sessions for the children attending the Sunbeams Child Bereavement Service will offer them positive experiences and give them the knowledge to recognise fire safety hazards within their homes and throughout their lives.

Brave Joe named Youth of Courage

Comedian Russell Howard presented Joe Bowers from South Yorkshire with the award for Youth of Courage at the Spirit of Fire Awards 2015.

Hosted by The Fire Fighters Charity, and presented by BBC newsreader Nicholas Owen, the Spirit of Fire Awards honour members of the fire community and members of the public by recognising acts of astonishing courage and bravery, as well as dedication to The Fire Fighters Charity.

Preceded by a Downing Street reception for nominees, hosted by Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the high profile event took place at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel and was attended by a host of celebrities and VIP guests from across the fire and rescue service.

Joe was rescued from a house fire back in 2001, when he was just 18 months old, he suffered life changing burns and spent months recovering in hospital. Overcoming everything from facial reconstruction to muscle transplants with admirable strength and incredible determination, Joe was adopted by Phil and Tracy Bowers. Phil is now a volunteer with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, helping prevent fires like the one which changed Joe’s life forever. A sweet and loving young man, Joe – now 16 years old – warms the hearts of everyone he meets. Joe was awarded as Youth of Courage winner due to the bravery and determination he demonstrated when times were tough.

Commenting on the achievements recognised at The Spirit of Fire 2015, Greg Clark said: “I’ve been inspired by the accounts of self-sacrifice and dedication that the winners and nominees of this year’s Spirit of Fire awards have shown, both at individual incidents and in their support for the Fire Fighters Charity. This charity provides world-class support and treatment for serving and retired firefighters, as well as their families, and it is in recognition of this that we continue to support its work. I would like to congratulate all those involved in the awards, and to thank them for all their hard work and commitment.”

The Spirit of Fire Awards were supported by headline sponsor Infographics UK Ltd., the developer of FireWatch and FloSuite software for the Fire and Rescue Service.

The runners-up for the Youth of Courage Award 2015 also all received a special Spirit of Fire Bravery Award at the prestigious ceremony. They were:

  • Chloe McGann, West Midlands
  • James Aspden, Lancashire
  • Lauren Cosgrove, Scotland

Other presenters on the evening included actors Niamh McGrady, Bhasker Patel, and John Partridge, sports presenter Diana Binks, TV gardener David Domoney and Great British Bake Off contestant Mat Riley.

Fire station hosts ‘memory cafe’ as part of new dementia partnership

The fire service has taken another big step towards supporting the growing numbers of people in South Yorkshire who live with dementia, by holding ‘memory cafes’ at one of its fire stations.

Adwick Fire Station at Quarry Lane, Woodlands now hosts a monthly memory cafe as part of a new partnership between South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and the Alzheimer’s Society.

The events, held once each month on a Thursday afternoon, provide an opportunity for people living with dementia and their carers to meet in a safe, managed environment and to take part in activities to promote mental and physical wellbeing, like games and health walks.

An Alzheimers Society Dementia Support Worker also attends each meeting to give information and support to carers.

Officers believe the project will benefit the fire service by providing a vital link with one of its key target groups in terms of vulnerability to fire.

They think the partnership also highlights the growing role the fire service can play in promoting health and wellbeing in the communities it serves.

Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “In the last decade, the fire service has helped to make South Yorkshire safer than is has been at any time in its history in terms of house fires and fire related deaths and injuries.

“But we believe we can play a much wider role in terms of tackling some of the big health challenges our country faces in the future. This project is the perfect illustration of that aspiration, where fire service resources are helping to improve the lives of one of the most vulnerable groups in society.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is also a member of the Yorkshire & Humber Dementia Alliance, which is committed to tackling the growing issue of dementia within our communities.

Hundreds of its staff have also signed up to become Dementia Friends- a Government backed initiative which teaches people a little bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia, and then turns that understanding into action.

Paul Harrison, Alzheimer’s Society Operations Manager for South Yorkshire said:

“We are delighted to enter into this partnership with the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and are grateful to them for hosting the Memory Café in their premises – it is certainly one of our more unusual locations.

“Alzheimer’s Society research has shown that people living with dementia thrive better if they can continue to live in their own homes for as long as possible, but they can be very vulnerable to risks in the home including fire. Working with the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service is a vital part of creating supportive dementia friendly communities and improving both safety and wellbeing of people living with dementia and their carers in the area”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has community rooms available at many of its fire stations across the county which are available to use, free of charge, to a variety of charities and community organisations.

Read more about our community rooms

Have your say on our ‘after the incident’ survey

We want to provide excellent services to our communities and continually improve the way we deliver them.

To help us deliver this, after we have attended a house fire we want to send members of the public a short survey to give them a chance to give their feedback on the service they received.  We would like your help in developing this.

Click here to view our proposed survey and give us your views.

This consultation closes at 11.59pm on Sunday 13 October 2015.

Fire service trains next generation of forensic investigators

The next generation of fire investigators is being put through its paces, thanks to a unique partnership between the fire service and two of the country’s most respected university forensic science degrees.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) has taken on two forensic science students to offer practical experience on how to determine the cause of a fire.

Both students are on a one year work placement. Victoria Moss, aged 20, is studying Forensic Science at Nottingham Trent University, while Bobbie-Jay Slack, aged 20, is studying a degree in Forensic Science at Sheffield Hallam University.

They will both be shadowing a Fire Investigation Officer to examine scenes of fire and determine the most likely cause.

Fire Investigation Officer Andy Strelczenie, said: “This is a mutually beneficial partnership. Victoria and Bobbie will be valuable assets to us, as during their placements, they will be undertaking research and testing work on behalf of the fire service.

“This work will assist with determining why fires start, and importantly the conditions which lead to the ignition of a wide range of probable causes discovered at the scene of a fire.”

Victoria Moss said; “I am hoping to gain experience that will help me with my studies. I have already found myself using all the things I have learnt so far.  It’s given me even more passion for my subject and has confirmed in my mind that this is a career I would love to do everyday.”

Bobbie-Jay Slack said; “I am really happy to be working with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and to have this opportunity to be getting my hands dirty while investigating real scenes of fire.”