South Yorkshire firefighters in bid to protect the environment

South Yorkshire firefighters on a training exercise
South Yorkshire firefighters on a training exercise

Firefighters in South Yorkshire have been learning how to better protect the environment when dealing with severe pollution incidents.

They carried out training exercises with officers from the Environment Agency to allow both organisations to discuss solutions to a range of potential pollution scenarios.

The aim of the sessions was for both agencies to come up with ways of providing a faster and more efficient response to pollution incidents while protecting the environment as much as possible.

Firefighters and environment officers gave demonstrations of the latest technology deployed to incidents requiring pollution containment, including bunding solutions for oil and chemical spills and water storage and flood barrier set ups.

Fire crews also showed how compressed air foam can be used as a fire fighting tool instead of water, and the methods in which it can be contained to reduce the amount of polluted water run off from an incident, which can end up in water courses.

Station manager Shayne Tottie, of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Working together in this way gives us an opportunity to share the vast amount of knowledge both organisations have from our very different skill sets.

“This will significantly improve how potential chemical and pollution situations are tackled in the future, which will provide better protection for all our staff while minimising any risks to the public.

“Partnership training, such as this, forms part of an ongoing aim to continually improve major emergency response procedures for the benefit of all in the local community.”

Over thirty Environment Agency staff attended the exercise, undertaken using the facilities at Tankersley fire station.

Fran Lowe, Environment Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “A quick response to pollution incidents is vital in order to limit the impact on the environment, and in order to do that we need to work efficiently and effectively with our colleagues in the fire service.

“The public can help us to respond quickly to incidents, too. Anyone who sees pollution is advised to report the matter straight away to the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 807060.”