South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Water safety plea ahead of school summer holidays

Firefighters are urging children not to swim in lakes and reservoirs ahead of the school summer holidays.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it has attended 282 water related incidents since 2012. Most were flooding or animal related, but 49 incidents involved rescuing people from open water. People died in three of those incidents.

Safety officers say children and young people should avoid open water- like rivers and lakes- because they may not always be aware of the danger it poses. River flows can be unpredictable and water is often deeper, colder and faster than expected. People should enjoy water safely in swimming pools or safer, specialist facilities instead.

Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “We regularly receive 999 calls in the summer about children and young people getting into difficulty in water, so it’s only a matter of time before someone’s safety is really put at risk unless people listen to our advice.

“It can be tempting to cool off in the summer months, but stick to a swimming pool. Hundreds of people drown each year in the UK and places like rivers, lakes or flooded quarries are completely unsuitable for swimming as they hide a number of hidden dangers.”

Over 400 people die in the water every year in the UK, and firefighters are urging people to follow some basic rules to stay safe.

The dangers of open water are:

  • The water can be much deeper than you expect
  • Rivers, lakes, canals and reservoirs are much colder than you think
  • Open water can carry water borne diseases, like Weils disease
  • Cold water dramatically affects your ability to swim
  • There may be hidden currents, which can pull you under the water
  • You don’t know what lies beneath, like pieces of rubbish or reeds which can trap or injure you

Fire service funded stop motion film helping to make high risk adults safer

A Doncaster community scheme has used fire service funding to create a stop-motion animation video to make the lives of vulnerable adults safer.

‘Breaking Beats’ partnered with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue to deliver a safety campaign with residents of Quarryfields- a social housing scheme for people with learning difficulties in Balby, Doncaster.

The 18 week scheme allowed adults with learning difficulties to improve their knowledge fire safety through stop-motion animation. Service users created a video that highlighted fire prevention advice, and were involved in all aspects of the stop motion process, from set building and manipulation of characters to editing and narration.

Breaking Beats aims to work with disabled people by looking at developing important life skills such as confidence, teamwork and self-esteem, helping disabled people learn new skills and trying to give them a higher quality of life.

The scheme was awarded nearly £7500 under the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s funding scheme, Stronger Safer Communities Reserve.

SYFR Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “This has been a fantastic project and exactly the sort of venture the Stronger Safer Communities Reserve is in place to support. It has allowed us to engage with and deliver a safety message to a group of people that we may not have been able to reach through our current channels. The participants in this scheme have thoroughly enjoyed themselves and have been offered a wealth of opportunities through a variety of activities. We are proud to be able to facilitate projects like these which have such a huge impact on our communities.”

The Stronger Safer Communities Reserve saw dozens of registered charities, community organisations and partner agencies come forward and apply for grants from the £2 million fund, which had been set aside from the Authority’s reserves. Groups were able to bid for as little as £5,000 or as much as £150,000 to support projects which reduce injuries, save lives and make South Yorkshire safer.

White goods countdown reveals most common house fire culprits

Firefighters have released a countdown of the ten faulty ‘white goods’ responsible for the most house fires in South Yorkshire.

The figures from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue are being used to highlight a growth in the number of blazes caused by electrical equipment, with tumble dryers and washing machines topping the list of causes.

Cookers, dishwashers and fridge freezers complete the top five, with large electrical items responsible for more than 200 incidents since 2011.

Last year a major product recall was issued and owners of large air-vented dryers and condensing dryers under the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands were told they may need to have them fixed.

Manufacturers are required by law to notify people if they know one of their products poses a fire risk and needs to be recalled. But millions of faulty products remain in people’s homes.

Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “Unfortunately, we can’t get round everyone’s home to check the safety of their electrics for them. But by raising awareness of the biggest safety issues. we hope we can give people the knowledge to check their own electrics and hopefully prevent a serious fire.

“For consumers, we know that returning a recalled product is not always convenient, especially if it’s an item that you use every day, but recall notices are issued to keep people safe. The small inconvenience of returning a recalled item is worth it when you consider that faulty products can electrocute or cause a fire.”

You can sign up for product recall information at www.registermyappliance.org.uk

Or for more information about the fire service’s electrical safety campaign watch our safety video

No. of call outs relating to fires involving white goods (1 January 2011 to 30 April 2016)

Tumble dryer 42

Washing machine 37

Cooker/oven 34

Dishwasher 28

Fridge/Freezer 24

Microwave oven 14

Grill/Toaster 12

Spin dryer 8

Other cooking appliance 7

Washer/Dryer combined 4

E-cig safety warning after 12 blazes attended by fire service

Firefighters are warning the public about the potential dangers posed by e-cigarettes, after revealing they have tackled a dozen fires involving the devices in the last three years.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says until 2013 it hadn’t attended a single incident caused by e-cigs, but the number of fires involving vaping equipment has climbed ever since.

E-cigarettes are commonly charged via a computer USB port. Fire investigators think fires commonly start because the e-cigarette is left to charge too long, they are charged on or close to soft furnishings, or because the charger itself is faulty.

Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “Fires caused by e-cigarettes are an emerging trend which a few years ago simply did not exist. Whilst e-cigs may offer a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, they are so popular now we do need to make sure people know how charge them safely.

“The advice for e-cigs is really the same as for many smaller electrical appliances like mobile phones and laptops- don’t be tempted to buy cheap unbranded chargers, don’t leave them to charge whilst you are out of the house or asleep and keep them well away from flammable materials.”

Tips to prevent e-cigarette fires include:

  • charge the device on a flat, solid and stable surface, such as a kitchen worktop
  • keep the device away from flammable or combustible materials when charging
  • never leave the device on a bed or close to soft furnishings, or in a cluttered space
  • don’t exceed the recommended charging time, or leave unattended for any significant length of time

Fire officers say that whilst nearly every type of fire has reduced significantly during the last decade, thanks to safety visits and better awareness of risks, electrical incidents have stubbornly refused to drop.

Electricity is involved in about two thirds of all accidental house fires, with household appliances the most common culprits.

As part of a major campaign to reduce electrical fires, officers are encouraging people to check the safety of their home electrics by completing a short, online checklist at 13orbust.co.uk

Fire service safety advice ahead of Islamic festival

The fire service is calling on South Yorkshire’s Muslim communities to take extra care ahead of one of the most important periods in the Islamic calendar.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue fears people are more likely to be at risk of fire during Ramadan, which begins on 7 June.

Ramadan lasts for 30 days and is observed by fasting during daylight hours, with cooking taking place before sunrise or after sunset.

Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “We recognise this is a really important time in the Islamic calendar, but want to make sure people observe it safely. In particular, people should take extra care to keep an eye on their cooking, as fasting could leave you feeling tired and more likely to become distracted or have an accident.

“Smoke alarms are the best way of making sure that if a fire does occur, you have the vital extra minutes to escape. So make sure smoke alarms are fitted on every level of your home and test them regularly.

“It’s also vital that if the smoke alarms do sound, everyone in the house knows what to do and knows how to escape, so talk this through with your family and loved ones.”

Top tips for staying safe during Ramadan include:

  • Cooking– Half of all house fires start in the kitchen, so take extra care when cooking, particularly with hot oil – it sets alight easily
  • Never throw water on a burning pan– in the event of a fire get out, stay out and call 999
  • Take extra care with clothing– make sure hijaabs, shalwar, kameez and saris are kept well away from the hob
  • Practise escape routes– and make sure every member of your family knows it well
  • Have a working smoke alarm on every floor of your home– test them weekly to make sure they work.

Business fire safety plea as enforcement action soars

The fire service is calling on South Yorkshire businesses to do more to learn about their responsibilities under safety laws, after reporting a steep rise in cases where the strongest form of enforcement action has been taken.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it has served 10 prohibition notices on businesses since April 2015, compared to just six in the whole of the previous two years.

Prohibition notices are served where an inspector considers that in the event of a fire the risk to people using a premises is so serious that use of the building should be prohibited or restricted.

The notice may stop the use of all or part of the premises immediately or after a specified time and not allow it to be used until action has been taken to correct the issue.

Continued use of the building is a criminal offence and can result in a prosecution under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Technical fire safety manager Amy Jenkinson, said: “Our aim is always to engage with local businesses in a positive way and to work with them to make improvements before we have to resort to closing part or all of a building, or resort to criminal prosecution.

“But the recent increase in the number of prohibition notices served is worrying and we’d urge business owners to take the time to learn about their responsibilities under fire safety legislation and complete a fire risk assessment to reduce the likelihood of suffering a serious incident which could put their business and their people in danger.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) has tackled more than 500 fires in non-domestic properties in the last three years.

Top safety tips for businesses include:

Keep fire escapes clear– make sure extra stock is stored away from fire escapes, ensuring staff and customers can get out safely in the event of a fire

Check alarm systems– regular checks and maintenance help to eliminate automatic false alarms and ensure the alarm is working if required

Complete a fire risk assessment– not only will it help to reduce the risk of suffering a fire in the first place, it will help make sure you comply with fire safety laws

Sprinklers– consider installing sprinklers as not only reduce death and injury from fire, but also protect property and heritage.

117 tumble dryer fires prompt safety sign up plea

The fire service is urging people to sign up to receive alerts when faulty electrical products are recalled, after revealing it has attended more than 100 blazes involving tumble dryers in the last five years.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it has attended 117 house fires involving tumble dryers since 2011, with faults with appliances responsible for three quarters of the incidents.

Last year a major product recall was issued and owners of large air-vented dryers and condensing dryers under the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands were told they may need to have them fixed.

Other faulty household electrical goods which can be common causes of fires include washing machines, fridges and smaller items like phone chargers and hair dryers.

Manufacturers are required by law to notify people if they know one of their products poses a fire risk and needs to be recalled. But millions of faulty products remain in people’s homes.

More than 300 different recalled electrical items, including frequently used products such as phone charges and adapters, kitchen appliances, hairdryers and washing machines have been recalled since 2011, but the success rate for recalls is rarely more than 20 per cent.

Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “Registering an appliance ensures you receive important safety messages about the item you possess.

“For consumers, we know that returning a recalled product is not always convenient, especially if it’s an item that you use every day, but recall notices are issued to keep people safe. The small inconvenience of returning a recalled item is worth it when you consider that faulty products can electrocute or cause a fire.”

You can find out whether an electrical product you own has been recalled via the Electrical Safety Council website http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/product-recalls/

You can sign up for product recall information at www.registermyappliance.org.uk

Fire Service donates water safety equipment to charity

Firefighters have donated new equipment to the Swinton Lock Activity Centre which offers educational and leisure daytrips on their narrowboat to youngsters.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) has given the charity two water throwlines to assist with the safety on the boat.

Swinton Lock Activity Centre is a community based arts, education and activity centre next to the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation Canal at Swinton.  They provide a wide range of activities for young people including fishing, arts and crafts, spraycan art and boat handling on their own narrowboat which is used for residential and accredited boat handling courses.

A number of the youngsters who attend the centre have been involved in anti social behaviour such as fire setting and other behavioural issues and find it difficult to integrate into schools.  The centre helps them develop their social skills by offering a variety of activities to take part in which helps to build their confidence.

Crew Manager Adam Dilkes, a firefighter at Rotherham fire station, has been attending the centre for the past two years talking to the youngsters about fire safety and promoting a positive image of the fire service.

Crew Manager Adam Dilkes said; “I am really pleased that we have been able to help the centre by giving them this life saving equipment, and that I also get the chance to educate them of fire safety issues and give advice on life experiences while encouraging the youngsters to think about their behaviour and the effects of it.”

Sharon Cooke, from Swinton Lock Activity Centre, said: “The staff, boat volunteers and crew of Swinton Lock Activity Centre would like to say a massive thank you to South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue for donating brand new throwing lines for use on our canal boats. They are a crucial piece of life saving equipment to have when the boat is in use and for training purposes. Working on and right beside the canal makes water safety a priority for us all.

“As a small independent Charity the help and support no matter how big or small, provided by the local community, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and local business has a huge impact and enables us to help and support others.”

Fire service delivers safety advice to Page Hall residents

The fire service has launched a fresh drive to make homes safer in the Page Hall area of Sheffield.

Community safety staff at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue are visiting residents and carrying out home safety checks, thanks to the services of a translator provided by a local lettings agent.

Global Lettings, which is based in the area, has donated the services of a translator to help fire service staff communicate with the area’s largely Roma and Roma-Slovak community.

SYFR Area Manager Steve Helps said: “South Yorkshire is safer from fire than it’s been at any time in its history, but it’s important that we continue to target our safety advice at all sections of the community, including new migrants.

“During a home safety check, fire service staff speak to residents about how to prevent common causes of fire like cooking and electrics and fit smoke alarms where needed.”

Click here to book a safety visit

 

Fire service launches safety campaign as growth in electrical fires revealed

A rise in electrical fires across South Yorkshire has been blamed on everything from phone chargers to e-cigs.

Fire officers say that whilst nearly every type of fire has reduced significantly during the last decade, thanks to safety visits and better awareness of risks, electrical incidents have stubbornly refused to drop.

Electricity is involved in about two thirds of all accidental house fires, with household appliances the most common culprits.

There were 190 house fires involving electricity in 2014/15, up from 165 the previous year and 150 in 2012/13. The kitchen is the most likely room in the house where electrical fires will start.

Sometimes fires are caused by faulty goods, which could be small items like mobile chargers, or big things like washing machines and dryers.

Fires are also caused by people misusing electrical appliances, for example by leaving them plugged in for too long or covering them up allowing them to overheat.

Head of community safety Trevor Bernard, said: “This isn’t about scaremongering but about making sure that consumers have all the available safety information. The vast majority of electrical goods are manufactured to very high safety standards, but sometimes if they are misused or if there is a fault with the device they can start a fire.

“The simple truth is that homes have more small electrical devices in them than probably any time in our history- from tablets and mobile phones, to e-cigarettes and games consoles. Unfortunately, we can’t get round everyone’s home to check the safety of their electrics for them. But by raising awareness of the biggest safety issues. we hope we can give people the knowledge to check their own electrics and hopefully prevent a serious fire.”

The fire service has issued the following advice to stop fires:

  • Don’t buy cheap, unbranded chargers and make sure chargers are compatible to the device you are using
  • Don’t leave things to charge overnight or beyond the recommended charging time. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Keep electrical items away from flammable materials when charging
  • Don’t overload sockets– long, strip adaptors are safest, but can only take a total of 13 amps

Officers are also encouraging visitors to check the safety of their home electrics by completing a short, online checklist at 13orbust.co.uk 

The fire service’s campaign will see advertising vans carry key safety messages to areas of South Yorkshire known to experience high numbers of house fires.