South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Fire services combine to buy brand new rescue jackets for firefighters

South Yorkshire’s firefighters have been kitted out with a brand new piece of protective clothing, bought as part of a regional collaboration with neighbouring fire and rescue services.

The multi-function rescue jackets are worn by firefighters at non-fire rescue incidents like road traffic collisions, as well as small fires in the open.

The high visibility, waterproof jackets are designed to be as lightweight and breathable as possible, helping fire crews to maneuver more easily and comfortably at incidents where traditional fire kit is not required.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has bought the jackets in a joint venture with the services in North Yorkshire and Humberside.

South Yorkshire’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Tony Carlin, said: “This is a completely new piece of kit for South Yorkshire and signals our commitment to providing our firefighters with the very best clothing and equipment with which they carry out their life saving work.

“We are dedicated to working with our neighbouring services and this is another clear example of a collaboration project that not only enhances the safety of our firefighters, but ensures best value to the people we serve.”

Steve Topham, Director of Service Support Delivery, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The new jackets have been really well received by crews who now have a wider choice of clothing appropriate for non-fire incidents. The regional collaboration has been a real success and ensures that we deliver on our objective of getting the best value for money where possible when purchasing vehicles, equipment and clothing.”

Dave Winspear, North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service’s Director of Capabilities said: “We work really hard to make sure that our firefighters are provided with the most appropriate kit for the job in hand and earlier this month we went live with our new multi-function rescue jacket. It meets all the requirements of a high-vis jacket and you’ll see our firefighters wearing then when attending non-structural incidents like road traffic collisions.”

UK fire and rescue services have been encouraged to work together to drive down the amount spent on essential goods such as frontline equipment and workwear.

The Policing & Crime Act 2017 placed a new statutory duty on emergency services to look at opportunities to work collaboratively.

Have a go days!

Would you like to try your hand at being a firefighter?

We’re running a series of have a go and have a chat sessions that will give you a chance to meet our staff, answer any questions, learn about the recruitment process and, ultimately, try your hand at some of our practical tests.

The dates are below and you need to book your place by emailing positiveaction@syfire.gov.uk – please note that we can only accept applications from people living within South Yorkshire.

WEEK ONE – The role of a firefighter – Zoom
Tuesday 22 March – 10am OR Wednesday 23 March – 6.30pm

WEEK TWO – The recruitment and selection process – Zoom
Tuesday 29 March – 10am OR Wednesday 30 March – 6.30pm

WEEK THREE – The practical tests – Zoom
Tuesday 5 April – 10am OR Wednesday 13 April – 6.30pm

WEEK FOUR – Firefighter fitness – Zoom
Tuesday 12 April – 10am OR Wednesday 13 April – 6.30pm

HAVE A GO DAY – Face to face
Sunday 3 April OR Sunday 22 May

Firefighter Ellie becomes family’s third generation to serve at Askern fire station

Three generations of the same firefighting family attended an extra special ceremony to mark the graduation of the latest recruit to join the ranks at Askern fire station.

Ellie Adams, aged 23, has became the third generation of her family to serve at Askern, Doncaster after completing her initial training and ‘passing out’ in front of family and friends at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Sheffield training base.

Amongst those watching were Ellie’s dad Steve Adams and grandad Michael Jackson who both served on-call at Askern fire station.

On-call firefighters are paid for their training, for being on-call and for each incident they attend – but they must live or work within a five minute drive of their closest fire station.

Dad Steve, who retires from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue after 35 years’ service later this month, said: “It was an incredibly proud day for the whole family. Firefighting isn’t something we’ve necessarily pushed on Ellie as a family, but as soon as she heard that we were recruiting at Askern fire station she wanted to give it a go. Like the rest of the recent recruits, she’s had to work really hard to complete her initial training, but the way she’s applied herself to it all has made me really proud.”

Ellie’s grandad Michael Jackson joined Askern fire station in 1960 aged 17- combining his firefighting role with a full time job at the nearby colliery. He rose to the rank of sub-officer, before retiring from the fire service in 1981.

He’d been inspired to sign-up by his older brother Fred- a D-Day veteran who joined Doncaster Fire Brigade in 1947, before going on to become Chief Fire Officer in Hong Kong.

Michael is father-in-law to Steve, who began work at Askern in 1987 before becoming a full time firefighter with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in 1996. He’s been there ever since, rising to the rank of Group Manager.

Now daughter Ellie has followed in both their footsteps. She joined South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in September after completing a pandemic disrupted university degree. She’s been working towards completing her initial training, culminating in last week’s ceremony.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is currently recruiting on-call firefighters at Askern, Rossington and Penistone fire station.

For more information on the role of an on-call firefighter or to apply, visit the service’s website here.

Service launches exhibition as part of International Women’s Day

Inspirational women from across South Yorkshire’s fire service are being celebrated this week, as part of a brand new ‘Women of Fire’ exhibition.

Pulled together by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, as part of International Women’s Day, the exhibition features portrait photographs of eight women currently working within the service.

Organisers say that the exhibition has been designed to support this year’s official women’s day theme – #BreakTheBias – by celebrating the huge contributions of women to the fire service.

Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson, features alongside firefighters, senior leaders, corporate staff and control room operators.

She says that the exhibition has been designed to support this year’s official women’s day theme – #BreakTheBias – by celebrating the huge contributions of women to the fire service.

“We’re starting to see a really positive change in the perceptions around women in the fire service, which has been great, but we can’t stop now,” she said.

“Right across the country we have amazing women doing a vital role in the UK fire and rescue sector, as they have been for years, and International Women’s Day provides us with the perfect platform to celebrate this.

“This exhibition has been designed to show that you can be a woman, and a firefighter, both at the same time. The staff featured in the portraits are living examples of that.

“So if you’re a woman who has long considered applying for a career in the fire service, but you’ve never made the leap, we want you to check out our exhibition.

“Every woman in those photos has done it, and so can you.”

The physical ‘Women of Fire’ exhibition will be showcased at the Winter Gardens, Sheffield, between Wednesday 9 March and Monday 14 March.

Each of the staff involved in the exhibition has had two photos taken to capture two sides of their character – one reflecting their life at work and one reflecting their life outside of it.

The service has also developed a website dedicated to the exhibition – this can be viewed at Women of Fire (women-of-fire.co.uk) – and includes details of all those featured in the photographs.

The photographs for the exhibition were captured by Orestes S Rix, a portrait photographer who previously worked on the service’s FAMILY exhibition for Black History Month.

The service would also like to thank North Notts College who provided media make-up students who supported the exhibition.

Firefighters to carry out high-rise training exercises to test new procedures

South Yorkshire firefighters will be practicing new procedures for responding to fires in high-rise blocks of flats, as part of work to adopt learning from incidents in tall buildings.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is carrying out multiple training exercises in each of the county’s four districts in the coming months.

The practical, live training will particularly focus on changes to evacuation procedures when fire compartmentation in tall buildings fails.

It will also help firefighters to further familiarise themselves with the lay outs and different risks presented by fires in tall buildings.

College students will perform the role of residents, to make the training as realistic as possible.

Area Manager Cath Toovey, said: “There have been some significant changes in guidance to the way all fire and rescue services respond to fires in tall buildings following national reviews and particularly as a result of the ongoing Grenfell Tower inquiry. It’s really important that we reflect on these changes as a service as ensure our frontline crews are aware of them.”

The exercises will take place at Albion, Buckley and Brittania Houses in Barnsley, Shaftesbury House in Doncaster, Beeversleigh in Rotherham and Keating Block, Leverton Gardens in Sheffield. The buildings have been chosen because of their suitability for the training- not because they are at any greater risk of fire.

Residents in the flats where the training is taking place have already been told the training is taking place.

“Whilst classroom and online training can be effective at explaining theoretical changes to our firefighters and incident commanders, there’s really no replacement for carrying out live, practical exercises like these. We’re particularly grateful to the residents in the buildings for their patience as we plan and deliver these exercises, and to the colleges, local authorities and housing associations for working with us the make the training as realistic and effective as possible. Community safety staff will also be on hand to give home fire safety advice to residents I requested”, said Cath.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has established a dedicated team to implement actions from the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The service announced last year that its Business Fire Safety inspectors had completed a Government-backed project to carry out safety reviews of all high-rise residential buildings in the county.

New Chief Fire Officer for South Yorkshire

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

Chris Kirby was appointed following a selection process which included a written application, interview with members of the Fire Authority and presentation to members of a staff stakeholder panel.

Barnsley-born Chris joined South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue as Deputy Chief Fire Officer in 2020. He’d previously served with West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue for more than two decades, having joined as a firefighter in 1998.

Fire Authority Chair Cllr Tony Damms, said: “The Fire Authority’s appointments panel was greatly impressed by Chris’ obvious passion for improving the service for all those it serves and employs. His people centred approach, vision for change and determination to get things done all make him an outstanding candidate to lead South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in the future.”

Chris will take over the role in May, when the current Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson QFSM retires. Alex joined South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in 2017 and has been Chief Fire Officer since 2020.

“Fire Authority members would like to thank Alex for the leadership she has shown in the role of Chief Fire Officer- particularly in leading the organisation through the pandemic and all of the challenges which that has brought and for her leadership during the 2019 floods. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours,” said Tony.

Chris Kirby said: “I am extremely proud to be offered the role of Chief Fire Officer in South Yorkshire. It is an honour to provide a first class service to the local community and to work alongside so many fantastic people.”

Delight as service completes ambitious high-rise inspection project

All high-rise residential buildings in South Yorkshire have now been inspected by the county’s fire service, as part of a mammoth Government-backed project.

The team of inspectors, made up of staff from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s business safety department, started their ambitious inspection programme last November.

This came as part of a Government-driven ‘Building Risk Review’ project that sought to significantly increase the pace of high-rise inspection activity across the country.

In scope for the inspectors were all high-rise residential buildings, across South Yorkshire, that were over 18 metres in height.

Their aim was to have inspected all of these buildings by the end of 2021 – a target that, much to the delight of the team and senior officers across the service, has been met.

“When the team set out on this project, we all knew that the timescales were very ambitious, and a lot of hard work and dedication would be needed to meet them,” said Area Manager Simon Dunker, the service’s head of prevention and protection at the time this project began.

“What they have done is remarkable and they should all be really proud – for our service to have inspected all our high-rise residential buildings in just over a year is fantastic.

“And this isn’t just good news for us, either. Its good news for residents right across the county who can sleep that little bit easier, now, knowing that these checks have been done.”

Celebrations aside, inspectors are keen to stress that their work around high-rise buildings will still carry on throughout 2022 and beyond.

The inspection team will continue to work with building management and owners to ensure the project’s findings are implemented.

They will also join back up with other business fire safety officers who have been continuing to inspect all buildings, regardless of height, over the last 12 months.

More information about the now completed Building Risk Review project, and your fire safety responsibilities as a building owner, can be found at www.syfire.gov.uk/business-advice.

Life-changing opportunity awaits South Yorkshire youngsters

Young people across South Yorkshire are being given the opportunity to change their lives in the New Year, thanks to the county’s police and fire services.

South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue will once again be teaming up to deliver the ‘life-changing’ Prince’s Trust Team Programme course in January.

This is a course for people who are between 16 and 25-years-old and not currently in work or full-time education.

Lasting 12 weeks in total, the programme gives young people the chance to meet new friends, gain personal confidence and develop a wide range of life-skills.

Importantly, it involves work placements that give the youngsters valuable experience and contacts – with lots of previous participants landing meaningful work afterwards.

Former Royal Marine, John Daley, who is currently team leader for the South Yorkshire Prince’s Trust Programme, believes this really is a ‘New Year, New You’ opportunity.

“Over the years I’ve watched on proudly as these courses have changed hundreds of young lives, they really do make a huge impact,” he said.

“In most cases, participants come away after 12 weeks with us feeling like a totally new person. Over the course of the programme they meet new friends, gain qualifications, work experience and a range of life skills.

“We also spend time looking at things such as drug awareness, good nutrition, mental health and general healthy living.

“If you know someone that is between 16 and 25-years-old, who is currently not in work or full-time education and, ultimately, needs a bit of a boost – please get in touch with us as this programme could really change their lives.”

There will be two courses commencing in January with 12 places on each. Anyone interested should email princestrust@syfire.gov.uk.

The first course will be based at Parkway Fire Station in Sheffield, and begins on Monday 17 January. The second will be based at Dearne Fire Station in Rotherham, and begins on Monday 24 September.

Press the button plea from South Yorkshire fire crews

Firefighters across South Yorkshire are urging people to put smoke alarm testing at the top of their Christmas preparation list, as the big day draws closer.

The plea comes following several examples in recent weeks, from right across the country, where working smoke alarms have saved lives, pets and homes from serious harm.

With everyone busy buying gifts, putting up decorations and making plans, officers are hoping people will be able to find 60 seconds to test their alarms.

They are also urging people to sign up for smoke alarm testing reminders, provided by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) for free, at pressthebutton.co.uk.

“We’ve long urged people to ensure they have working smoke alarms on every level of their home, but we know everyone is busy, and sometimes these things get forgotten,” said Station Manager Steve Jones, who works in the SYFR prevention team.

“However, given most people will be making time for their Christmas preparation over the coming weeks, we’re hoping that they may be able to squeeze in the time to test their alarms, and sign up for our regular testing reminders.

“They really are life-saving devices and we’ve seen countless examples in recent months and years of how getting early warning of a fire can save your life.

“Beyond that, working smoke alarms can also save your home. Early warning of a fire doesn’t just mean you can get out early, it means the fire can be dealt with quicker.

“Even relatively small fires can cause smoke damage that renders your home uninhabitable and, ultimately, cause you a world of pain dealing with insurance issues.”

The service will be running this latest campaign – Press The Button – throughout December. Officers hope to see a steep increase in the amount of people signing up for the weekly or monthly testing reminders.

Last year it was revealed that in 49 percent of the house fires attended by South Yorkshire crews in 2019, there were no working smoke alarms present.

At the same time, local mum Rachael Shaw, from Parsons Cross in Sheffield, issued her own smoke alarm plea – after her house was destroyed by fire earlier in the year.

“If it wasn’t for the smoke alarm, realistically we would never have known the house was on fire. We never thought they were that important and yet they literally saved our lives,” she said at the time.

The service is also offering a range of other fire safety advice as Christmas Day draws closer and closer:

  • On electrics, ensure products are genuine and bought from reputable suppliers
  • On candles, make sure they are kept away from things like curtains and decorations
  • On cooking, never cook drunk and always ‘stand by your pan’

More information on fire safety over the Christmas period can be found on the service’s website, www.syfire.gov.uk.

Fire service welcomes arson conviction after flats fire

Fire officers have welcomed the conviction of a man who started a fire outside flats in Rotherham.

Alex Teasdale, of Meadow Close, Dalton, was sentenced to 46 months in prison and given a 10 year restraining order at Sheffield Crown Court on 5 November after pleading guilty to committing arson recklessly as to whether life would be endangered at the property in Dalton, Rotherham in September 2019.

The fire – which involved household waste – quickly spread to the exterior of the flats, forcing the occupants to evacuate.

Fire cause investigators quickly identified arson as the most probably cause of the fire and CCTV footage was used to help bring about the conviction.

Area Manager Cath Toovey, said: “Arson is a terrible crime with the real potential to endanger life. People starting fires do get caught and they do get prosecuted, as this case clearly illustrates.”

DC Dawn Murray, from South Yorkshire Police, added: “This was an extremely distressing ordeal for the residents of these flats and could very easily have ended with tragic consequences. I’m pleased our partnership work with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has resulted in this sentence, which serves as a strong message to others that arson is not tolerated in our communities.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has launched a new service where people can anonymously report people starting fires in their area. To report arson, call Firestoppers on 0800 169 5558.