South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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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.”

CO advice to be given to residents in National Grid link up

National Grid has teamed up with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue to give lifesaving carbon monoxide (CO) advice to the area’s most vulnerable residents.

The partnership is part of an initiative National Grid is running with seven fire and rescue services across the country, including Leicestershire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, and West Midlands. It follows a successful trial with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, who delivered over 3,000 home safety checks, including advice on CO symptoms, prevention and how to ensure their homes are safe from the silent killer.

Head of community safety for South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, Kevin Ronan, said: “Too many people die needlessly or become seriously ill because of carbon monoxide poisoning each year. As a fire service, our work in the community has already helped to massively reduce house fire deaths and injuries, so it’s only natural that we should look to extend that success by making people more aware of other safety issues like CO.”

It is hoped that through the fire service’s regular home safety checks, more and more people will become aware of the dangers of CO poisoning, take further action to make their homes safer and share their knowledge with others.

Head of operations for National Grid James Harrison said: “We are seeing great results so far which means the chance of people being harmed or killed by CO is falling.”

Known as the ‘silent killer’, carbon monoxide poisoning kills over 50 people a year, with 4,000 people attending hospital with carbon monoxide symptoms. An odourless, colourless gas, carbon monoxide is not easily detected and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be confused with flu.

Mr Harrison added: “The partnership with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue means more and more people are getting the CO safety message. We are providing them with the information, knowledge and CO alarms and they are able to deliver these to far more people during their Home Safety checks.”

The results from the trial with Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service showed:

  • 68% increase in CO awareness
  • 81% of respondents would take all the recommended further action. This includes getting their gas appliances checked every year, passing on information to friends and family, buying a CO alarm and seeking medical advice if the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning occur
  • 99% indicated they would share their new knowledge of CO dangers with family and friends

Carbon monoxide is often known as the silent killer because you can’t see it or smell it but carbon monoxide poisoning can be avoided by taking simple steps. Ensure your gas appliances are fitted, maintained and serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer and as a back-up, fit an audible carbon monoxide detector. They can be bought for as little as £15 and could save your life.

Following the success of the Staffordshire trial, National Grid teamed up with six further fire and rescue services and shared the trial findings with the other gas distribution networks.  The other networks have now also started to team up with services in their areas to provide CO awareness.

Business people meet fire crews in Barnsley

Tankersley firefighters joined forces with our Technical Fire Safety team for an event targetting businesses in Barnsley.

Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Chamber means business’ event saw hundreds of South Yorkshire business people congregate at Wentworth Woodhouse.

We spoke to businesses face-to-face about issues such as sprinklers and their obligations under fire safety legislation.

We attend more than 500 fires in commercial buildings each year.

Read more business safety advice here

Fire Authority business safety project launched

South Yorkshire is the launch pad this month for a major initiative designed to improve fire safety for small and medium enterprises.

Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce has launched the Business Fire Safety Project to reduce the impact of fires on business stability and development.

This project received funding from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s Stronger Safer Communities Reserve to assist local businesses to become more engaged in fire safety awareness.

Fire Authority Chairman Councillor Jim Andrews said: “The fire service in South Yorkshire has already helped to make our communities safer than they have been at any time in our history, but it’s important those successes are replicated in a commercial context. By supporting partners like Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber, we think the Authority can make a big contribution to helping to protect businesses from fire which will in turn help to support a thriving local economy.”

Andrew Denniff, Chief Executive of the Chamber of Commerce, said: “We will be working closely with the fire service, local authorities and partners in South Yorkshire and will support businesses to become more informed and controlled in dealing with fire safety issues, helping businesses to help themselves. We’re targeting a range of businesses across South Yorkshire to continue to reduce the risk of fires in commercial and industrial settings.”

The key initiative of the project is to establish robust fire safety cultures within businesses that aim to protect employees and ensure business continuity. The project has established a specialist business support service, dedicated to increasing the uptake of fire safety advice by delivering presentations, providing guidance and business toolkits. The project will also support the adoption of in house Fire Safety Ambassadors to more effectively manage fire risks in smaller businesses who have less awareness of fire safety issues.

“Any drive to encourage more businesses to adopt improved safety practices can only serve to protect employees, business continuity and future growth,” said Andrew.

He goes on to point out that many businesses may not have fire safety at the top of their business priority list, and some are not familiar with the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. In order to foster good fire safety cultures within businesses, it is important for them to understand the Order to ensure they are compliant.

“We hope our initiative will assist the South Yorkshire Fire Authority to continue reducing fires and the risk of fires at business premises.”

Any businesses looking for advice, guidance or support surrounding fire safety can contact Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber on 01709 386200 to discuss how the project can assist.

Firefighters to hold charity car wash

Firefighters across South Yorkshire will be washing cars over the coming weeks as part of a national charity event.

The event is aimed at raising money for The Fire Fighter’s Charity, which supports injured firefighters and their families.

Car wash events will be held at the following stations:

• Barnsley Station, Broadway, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 6RA – Sunday 13th – 11am onwards

• Aston Park Station, Worksop Road, Aston, Rotherham, South Yorkshire S26 2FZ – Saturday 12th 10:30am onwards

• Dearne Station, Manvers Way, Rotherham, South Yorkshire S63 5DN – Saturday 12th – 10am to 2pm

• Maltby Station, High Street, Rotherham, South Yorkshire S66 8LA – Sunday 20th from 11am onwards

• Birley Moor Station, Moor Valley, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S20 5FA – Saturday 12th – 10am to 4pm

• Central Station, Eyre Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 3FG (for sat nav use S1 3HU) – Saturday 12th – 11am onwards

• Elm Lane Station, Elm Lane, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S5 7TU – Saturday (12th) morning till 1pm

• Lowedges Station, Lowedges Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S8 7JN – Saturday 12th – 11am onwards

As well as washing cars, firefighters will also be on hand to offer road and fire safety advice, along with promoting their free Home Safety Checks.

Station Manager Steve Adams said: “Not only will members of the public drive away with nice clean cars, but our firefighters will also be offering safety advice, whilst raising money for a very worthy cause.”

Robot Wars visit fire station

A Sheffield fire station had some unusual guests recently when robots from the popular Robot Wars television programme paid a visit.

It was all in aid of an event hosted by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, as part of a Get Started with Robotics programme being delivered in partnership with youth charity The Prince’s Trust.

Get Started is a personal development programme, for 16-25 year olds. It uses inspiring themes to engage with young people who are not in education or employment to take their first step to increase their confidence, skills and employability.

As well as teaching young people new specialist skills, the programme also widens and develops their personal and social skills.

The group of thirteen young people built their own robots and pitched them against each other in various challenges. At the end of the week long course the young people attended the demonstration by the famous robots, which were supplied by Roaming Robots, in the yard at Central fire station.

Station Manager Trevor Bernard said; “We were really happy to accommodate the robot display. As one of The Prince’s Trust partners we were really excited to see the Robot Wars in action.”

Kimberley Hendon, Get Started – Programme Executive, The Prince’s Trust said; “Throughout every programme we incorporate a real and meaningful group task, which challenges the young people and helps to develop their personal and social skills. By the end of the week, our aim is give young people a renewed sense of motivation and direction, to inspire them to move forward with their lives. We then continue to provide them with ongoing support for three to nine months to help engage them in education, employment or training.”

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