It's the good LIFE as Sheffield's new 999 squad enjoy success

Successful start for Sheffield new joint emergency services team
Successful start for Sheffield new joint emergency services team

The city's new joint emergency services team has enjoyed "encouraging" start within its first three months.

Local Intervention and Falls Episodes, joint fire and police operation set up to reduce demand on 999 responders in Sheffield, has already visited hundreds of local homes.

The team, also supported by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, is half way through six month pilot that sees staff visit households to reduce fire risk, improve security and help fall victims.

So far the team has carried out 101 crime prevention checks and 191 home safety visits that include fitting of free smoke alarms.

The trial squad also responds to help people at high volume and lower priority incidents, including helping 26 folk who have had a fall, are not seriously injured but are unable to get up on their own.

The team has also helped find two missing people and visited vulnerable people who have been victims of crime or are at risk of anti-social behaviour. Some of this work traditionally takes police officers and paramedics off the road for many hours.

SYFR Head of Prevention and Protection Steve Helps said: “This is a very encouraging start for a brand new team, which proves emergency services are working together locally to help make people safer and healthier.

“We know that there are huge links between the people who need the help of the police and health services, and those who are at risk of fire. So collaborative working such as this undoubtedly benefits our public safety work.”

Chief Inspector Jenny Lax from South Yorkshire Police said: “The team have made a promising start and are working really well together to reduce the vulnerability of people in our communities and improve their quality of life”

The team operates using two specialist vehicles and consists of four staff – two South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue employees and two South Yorkshire Police community support officers.

The scheme has been funded by South Yorkshire Fire Authority for six months and researchers from University of Huddersfield have been commissioned to evaluate its effectiveness. If successful, it could be extended and taken to other parts of South Yorkshire.

Last year the Government announced new proposals to transform the way the police, fire and rescue and ambulance services work together. It wants to encourage collaboration by introducing a new statutory duty on all three emergency services to look at opportunities to work with one another better to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

In South Yorkshire, fire crews already attend hundreds of ‘medical break-ins’ every year, where they gain access to properties where people are thought to be in need of urgent medical attention, but where ambulance service paramedics cannot get to them. This work used to be carried out by the police.

Work has also now started on a joint police and fire station in Maltby, whilst five ambulance stand-by points will also be created at five other fire service premises across the county.