Road safety: Sheffield firefighters practise car crash rescues as emergency services fear Christmas casualties

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Sheffield firefighters practise car crash rescue skills as campaign against Christmas drink driving launched

Sheffield firefighters produced the cutting gear - to practise freeing injured people from cars as they brace themselves for a rise in crashes.

Crew members from Parkway Fire Station were practising their specialised skill of cutting people free from crashes, as the emergency services launched a month-long campaign to try to prevent drink and drug driving.

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Simon Dunker, head of service delivery for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, joined South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings for the launch at the fire station.

Police and firefighters at the launch of the campaign against drink driving over Christmas, at Parkway Fire Station, Sheffield. Picture: David Kessen, National WorldPolice and firefighters at the launch of the campaign against drink driving over Christmas, at Parkway Fire Station, Sheffield. Picture: David Kessen, National World
Police and firefighters at the launch of the campaign against drink driving over Christmas, at Parkway Fire Station, Sheffield. Picture: David Kessen, National World | National World

The firefighters cut away the roof using their hydraulic cutting equipment, before freeing a volunteer who had been playing the role of the casualty, from the driver's seat, using a board, and carrying them to safety.

Mr Dunker said: "We're asking people not to get behind the wheel if they've had any alcohol or taken any drugs, or if they may be in their system from the night before.

Firefighters at Sheffield Parkway Fire Station practice rescuing people from car crashes, as worried bosses warn of drink driving over Christmas. Picture: David Kessen, National WorldFirefighters at Sheffield Parkway Fire Station practice rescuing people from car crashes, as worried bosses warn of drink driving over Christmas. Picture: David Kessen, National World
Firefighters at Sheffield Parkway Fire Station practice rescuing people from car crashes, as worried bosses warn of drink driving over Christmas. Picture: David Kessen, National World | National World

He said that unfortunately, his crews see an increase in incidents at this time of year.

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He added: "We attend quite a lot of road traffic collisions with a high proportion of these involving people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. So we're asking people not to get the wheel if they have had any alcohol or taken any drugs. If they are doing so, they are putting theirs and other people's lives at risk."

Dr Billings said; "Every Christmas we have a campaign around drink and driving as we recognise that if people drink when they're driving they put themselves at risk and put other people at risk. Any amount of alcohol, no matter how small, will affect your ability to drive well.

"We don't want to spoil parties and spoil fun, but we do want to say to people, look, if you're going out and you're going to have a drink , then think about how you're going to get back home because you could put yourself at risk, and those travelling in your car

Figures released to coincide with the campaign state that during December 2022, South Yorkshire Police officers stopped 1,140 vehicles and conducted 903 breath tests. Of those, 119 people failed a test.

An additional 231 drug tests were administered and 27 people tested positive.