South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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National award for fire service’s response to Hatfield Moors blaze

South Yorkshire’s fire service has won a national award for its response to a major wildfire, which crews spent 22 days tackling last year.

The fire affected a huge area of rare peat moorland, which is a site of special scientific interest and home to several rare species of animal and plants.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue won the Incident Management Award at CIR Magazine’s Business Continuity Awards 2021 for its work to coordinate the response to the incident, which involved 403 fire appliance movements across 523 hours in May and June 2020.

Area Manager Stewart Nicholson, said: “Responding to large scale incidents such as this isn’t simply about the work of our fantastic firefighters on the ground. It’s also about the coordination of activity behind the scenes, the implementation of plans for managing an incidents of this size and collaboration with our partners, including the local authority and Natural England. This award is fitting recognition for all of the efforts which went into managing the incident.

“Even during the early stages of the pandemic, our frontline crews remained ready, willing and able to respond to every 999 call they received- including major fires such as this one. Our response to this blaze right at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic is therefore also testament to the control measures we had in place and the diligence of our staff in following them.”

At the same awards, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Emergency Planning Officer Russ Parramore won the Adviser of the Year Award for his work with the National Fire Chief’s Council’s business continuity committee.

Service launches September recruitment drive

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is once again calling for people in Askern, Rossington, Stocksbridge, Dearne, Birley and Cudworth to join their on-call firefighting teams.

Despite two hugely successful recruitment campaigns in the last year, there are still some spaces at each of the above stations that the service would like to fill.

On-call firefighters play a vital role in crewing fire stations right across the county. Trained to the same high standards as full-time firefighters, they attend all types of incidents and contribute towards the service’s prevention work within the community.

Anyone interested is urged to register their interest on the service’s website, here. The service will then contact each individual directly with regards to the next steps.

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.

“On-call firefighters are ordinary people who do an extraordinary job. The commitment they make to their communities is something that words can’t describe,” said SYFR Station Manager Chris Tyler, who oversees the service’s on-call fire stations.

“This latest recruitment drive provides another opportunity for people in these six areas to fulfil the childhood dream of so many people and our message is clear – if you want to do it, get in touch, and we’ll do what we can to make the dream a reality.

“There’s loads of information on what it takes to be an on-call firefighter, what the job related tests involve and what the job involves, on our website – I’d definitely recommend having a read of the content there if you’re interested.”

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

Fire service shortlisted for major national diversity award

South Yorkshire’s fire service is up for a major national award celebrating its work with diverse communities.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has been shortlisted in the ‘diverse company’ category at this year’s National Diversity Awards.

The service has been shortlisted for its work to train and empower staff, promote inclusive recruitment processes and involve diverse communities in its work.

The nomination pitches SYFR up against seven other organisations from across the public and private sectors.

Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson, said: “Not only is inclusion now more visibly a strategic priority at board level, it is also translating to real results on the ground.

“Reinvigorated staff networks, fairer promotion processes, universal training, better recruitment practices and braver communication are all tangible examples of how- in a sector which has traditionally struggled to modernise- we are pushing the boundaries, improving our diversity and becoming a great place to work where people can truly be themselves.”

The National Diversity Awards seek to celebrate the excellent achievements of grass- root communities that tackle the issues in today’s society.

Marcus Rashford, Rebecca Ferguson and Ashley Banjo are amongst those shortlisted in the ‘celebrity of the year’ category.

The winners will be announced at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on February 4, 2022.

You can find out more at https://nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/

Arson numbers down as service hones in on fire-setting

South Yorkshire’s firefighters have responded to less deliberate fires so far this summer than in recent years, according to figures released by the county’s fire service.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) says it has attended 997 deliberate fire incidents across May, June and July this year – a seven percent reduction compared to the 1,073 attended during the same period last year.

Against the average for May, June and July across the last three years – which stands at 1,404 incidents – the reduction is actually 29 percent.

However, with several weeks left of the school holidays, a period which often sees an increase in fire service call outs, officers are still calling on the public to be vigilant.

In particular, SYFR is urging people to report anything they know about deliberate fire-setting via their FireStoppers service – which was launched earlier this year.

Much like its sister, Crimestoppers, all reports that go into FireStoppers are totally anonymous. Residents simply need to call 0800 169 5558 or visit firestoppersreport.co.uk.

“This may come as a surprise to some, but deliberate fires are amongst the most common types of incident that our firefighters attend, yet they are often entirely needless,” said Group Manager Matt Gillatt, deputy head of the joint police and fire community safety team.

“We put lots of effort in to trying to stamp out arson attacks and it is great to see that what we are doing – a combination of our new FireStoppers service and work from our community safety staff and operational crews – is having the desired effect in reducing incident numbers.

“However, there is always more work to do, and one deliberate fire is one too many. The summer is not over yet and this can be a really busy time for us, especially when the weather hots up.

“Deliberate fire-setting not only endangers life and wastes our time, it can also massively destroy local parks, facilities and landscapes, so I would really encourage people to keep using our FireStoppers service to help us help you.”

You can report information about deliberate fire-setting to FireStoppers, totally anonymously, by calling 0800 169 5558 or visiting firestoppersreport.co.uk.

As well as cracking down on arson, fire officers are also asking people to be extremely careful when visiting the moors, when using disposable BBQs and when around open water.

“All of these things are a big focus for us. Our ask, in each three instances, is simple – please just be careful and treat your surroundings with respect,” added Matt.

“Don’t use disposable BBQs and leave litter on the moors or in tinder dry areas, and never jump in to open water – only ever swim outdoors if you know what you are doing.”

New Barnsley fire station goes operational

Firefighters have begun responding to 999 calls from South Yorkshire’s newest fire station for the first time.

The new two storey, three bay Barnsley fire station was completed earlier this month and went operational yesterday (Tuesday 17 August).

The energy efficient building on Broadway, Kingstone replaces the 60-year-old fire station on the same site which had reached the end of its operational life.

Firefighters had been housed in a temporary facility off-site whilst the year-long construction of the new station was completed.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Tony Carlin, said: “This is a really special day, as the new station has been several years in the planning and represents part of our vision to provide all our firefighters with modern, comfortable and energy efficient spaces in which to live and work.

“The new station has been completed to a very high specification and with the wishes of the firefighters who will work there taken into account at every stage. It has been paid for using money set aside from the Authority’s reserves and we expect it to provide an outstanding service to the people of Barnsley for many years to come.”

An existing unused building adjacent to the fire station will be re-purposed and upgraded to host the service’s award-winning Princes Trust Team Programme initiative as well as providing space to hold events and meetings and bookings from community groups.

Energy saving measures at the new fire station include low energy, LED lighting with motion sensors.

The investment forms part of a wider, short to medium term approved plan to invest in the fire service’s property estate, with around £8 million being set aside from its reserves to modernise and improve its estate.

Bond Bryan acted as architects for the project, with JF Finnegans acting as contractors.

South Yorkshire firefighters join mammoth ride in bid to raise vital charity cash

Two South Yorkshire firefighters are amongst a 20 strong team bidding to cycle the length of the UK to raise mental health awareness and thousands for charity.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Mark Peart and Paul Simmonite are joining firefighting colleagues from Suffolk for the 10 day, 1,000 mile ride from Lands End to John O’Groats in September.

The team are aiming to raise £50,000 for The Fire Fighters Charity, which supports the mental, physical and social needs of all serving and retired members of the UK’s fire family.

Paul has been a firefighter for 29 years and is currently based at Aston Park fire station. He said: “I’ve worked at stations across South Yorkshire and seen things that most people will thankfully never see, but due to the nature of the family feel of the fire and rescue service there has always been support available to me.

“I know The Fire Fighters Charity provides lots of mental health support though, so raising for them was something I really wanted to do.

“After meeting up and spending a day cycling with the group from Suffolk, I was honoured and privileged when they contacted me and asked me to join the team on this epic adventure. It’s been on my bucket list for years to ride the length of the UK, so I jumped at the chance.

“To be able to challenge myself with the mental and physical aspects of this adventure and knowing others will benefit from the team’s efforts is really inspiring.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Kirby, said: “Mark and Paul have the support of the whole fire service behind them. Not only are they raising money for a charity which does so much for serving and retired fire service staff and their families, they are also raising much needed awareness of the mental health issues which many emergency service workers face.

“I’ll be joining the team for part of the ride- but the scale of the full challenge is absolutely enormous and I’d encourage people to dig deep and donate to help inspire them to complete this incredible feat.”

The team begin their mammoth ride on Monday 20 September, stopping at eight fire stations across the UK along the way.

To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/team/longestride

Fire services combine to reveal new, state-of-the-art kit

Firefighters across the Yorkshire and Humber region have revealed new, advanced fire kit following a joint procurement deal.

As part of a tri-service agreement, all firefighters in South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and the Humberside region will begin wearing new fire tunics and trousers. For crews in South Yorkshire and Humberside, the personal protective equipment (PPE) revamp will also feature a pioneering, multi-function rescue jacket to reflect the changing role of the modern firefighter.

The kit is currently being rolled out across the three counties to assist firefighters in best protecting local communities. It is a proud moment for all three fire services, who have collaborated in a two year project, resulting in the final contract being awarded to supplier Ballyclare International.

The new fire kit features specially designed knee and elbow panels to make it easier to move and more comfortable to wear as well as innovative new spacer fabric, to improve breathability for those wearing it.

The collaboration means all three services have saved money, enhanced firefighter safety and standardised fire kit regionally.

The PPE underwent rigorous testing back in June 2020, as part of extensive performance trials involving both male and female firefighters from all three services.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Tony Carlin said: “Our operational crews need first-class fire kit in order to respond to a wide range of incidents and protect the residents of South Yorkshire the best we can. Our new kit features the very latest technologies and safety features to ensure that our crews not only have the best protection on the fire ground but have full confidence in their equipment.

“We have a dedication to collaborating however we can 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.”

Humberside Fire & Rescue Service Director of Service Delivery Support, Steve Topham said: “This has been a great opportunity to work with our colleagues from across Yorkshire as part of a regional procurement of new structural PPE from Ballyclare International. It has helped us all in making efficiencies and providing our staff with new PPE that improves their safety and comfort while attending incidents.

“Great care was taken to make sure the new PPE provided a better fit for all our staff and provides better breathability when working in hot environments. Our staff will be receiving their new PPE later in August and supports our ongoing aim to provide safer communities, safer firefighters.”

West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service Area Manager, Dave Teggart said “We have worked closely with colleagues from across the Yorkshire and Humber region to purchase our new structural PPE from Ballyclare International.

“The regional procurement shows our commitment to making efficiencies, by reducing duplication and effort.

“The new PPE offers higher levels of protection and wearer comfort to our staff, making them safer than they ever have been.”

Deborah Hudson, Head Designer at Ballyclare said: “At Ballyclare, we recognise firefighters face an ever-expanding range of challenges and new hazards. With this project, we took an innovative design approach to increase protection levels.

“The three layer construction provides excellent protection against heat and flame, while delivering outstanding tensile strength. The lightweight combination provides barriers against heat and quickly moves moisture away from the wearer. This, coupled with the unique 3D structure increases the movement of air throughout the suit providing firefighters with maximum breathability and comfort. To significantly increase the visibility of firefighters in dark conditions we included the world’s first fire retardant and fully launderable phosphorescent tape in the design.

“Another key benefit of the suits are their rugged and reliable construction, allowing them to withstand a rigorous cleaning and maintenance regime without losing their protective qualities. Ballyclare is proud to provide this innovative fire kit to firefighters across Yorkshire and Humberside.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue service firefighters will now be wearing the new kit, with firefighters from West Yorkshire and Humberside donning the gear later in the summer.

Fire and rescues services in the UK are now being encouraged to do more collaboratively to drive down the amount spent on essential goods such as frontline equipment and workwear.

The Policing & Crime Act 2017 also received Royal Assent on 31 January 2017, placing a new statutory duty on emergency services to look at opportunities to work collaboratively.

Six in Sheffield graduate from fire and police youth programme

Six young people have successfully graduated from a fire and police development programme, after youth engagement work got back underway with a bang after long months of lockdown.

The group- all aged 16 to 25 years old – took part in a life enhancing 12 week personal development course known as Prince’s Trust Team Programme.

The South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police led initiative offers work experience, qualifications, practical skills, community work and a residential week to young people not in employment, education or training.

The young people were all thrown out of their comfort zone, with highlights including a mammoth trek to a World War Two aircraft wreck in the Peak District and a community initiative which saw them transform a children’s playground.

SYFR Team Programme Leader John Daley said; “Young people have had it tough over the last year- their education has been disrupted, employment opportunities have been put on hold and socialising has been made difficult by the restrictions we’ve all been living under. But this group have come together brilliantly and should feel extremely proud of everything they have achieved.

“Although we’ve done our best to keep our youth engagement work going during the pandemic, this has obviously been limited, so it feels fantastic to be able to come together with the young people and their families to celebrate their achievements at an event such as this.”

The graduation which was held at the Niagara Centre in Sheffield and was a great celebration of all their hard work and efforts. It was attended by their friends and family as well as local dignitaries, including the Vice Lord Lieutenant John Holt and Lord Mayor of Sheffield Cllr Gail Smith.

More than 250 young people have been through the South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Prince’s Trust Team Programme in four years. Four out of every five go on to achieve a successful outcome, be it entering employment, education or training.

To be part of the next programme, email princestrust@syfire.gov.uk

Fire service public events back on following lockdown lifting

The fire service has marked the lifting of coronavirus restrictions by attending its first public safety event in months.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue firefighters and safety officers were amongst those who attended a family fun day at Shirecliffe Heliport- with the event doubling up as a charity fundraiser.

A fire engine and chip pan display unit- which educates people about the dangers of pouring water onto hot oil – were also there, alongside vehicles and staff from other emergency services.

Community Safety Team Leader Amanda Thompson, said: “The fire service is best known for the work our brilliant frontline crews do responding to 999 calls. Equally important though is our work to educate the public- either by visiting their homes or at community events such as this one.

“We’ve had to adapt our community work significantly over the last 18 months or so and whilst we’re proud of the work we’ve continued to deliver throughout the pandemic, it still feels good to be back in the community and talking to people at events like this one about preventing fires and other emergencies.”

The well attended event in Parkwood Springs coincided with Eid and also helped to raise money for Cash For Kids, which supports children and young people affected by poverty, abuse, neglect, life-limiting illness and those who have additional needs.

Fire service pandemic volunteer coordinators celebrate Cutler’s award win

A team at the heart of coordinating fire service volunteers who supported South Yorkshire’s pandemic response have been honoured with a special award.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s three-strong ‘volunteers cell’ oversaw the work of 200 fire service staff who volunteered to fulfil multiple requests for support from partner agencies as they strived to keep essential services running during the first stages of the pandemic.

Those tasks included making food and prescription deliveries, training to drive ambulances, fitting face masks for care staff and distributing PPE to health workers.

Now the team behind the work has been given the prestigious team award at the Cutlers’ Company Police and Fire Service annual awards in recognition of their exemplary service.

Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson QFSM, said: “Many of the requests from partners, raised via South Yorkshire’s Local Resilience Forum, were extremely urgent, meaning that the cell had to work quickly, flexibly and often during unsociable hours to make sure the right volunteers were available to fulfil them.

“The cell also had to liaise with external partners across the country to establish safe systems of work, to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our volunteers whilst carrying out additional duties.

“All of the work of the volunteers cell was delivered remotely, with staff using video conferencing and email to deliver this work.

“In short, we are proud of the work we did to help our communities during the pandemic, but none of it could have been delivered without the work of the small, dedicated group of people who made up our volunteers cell.”

At the same event, Watch Manager Fleur Holland QFSM won the individual award after used her role within the service’s community safety team to help coordinate the delivery of hundreds of food parcels and thousands of prescriptions to people with no other means of support.

Acutely aware of the impact the pandemic was having on the mental health younger people, she also used her role as one of the service’s youth engagement leads to organise a fundraising challenge for the service’s fire cadets.

Emergency Planning Assistant Liz Bramley and Community Safety Co-ordinator Claire Walsh were the others nominated for the individual awards.

The service’s ICT team and Covid-19 volunteers were the others nominated for the team award.