A Yorkshire fire service rescued 27 severely obese people who had fallen or could not be moved by ambulance crews last year.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says its crews regularly attend ‘bariatric rescues’, which sometimes take whole teams of firefighters to carry out and often require specialist equipment and training to perform.
The rescues between April 1, 2013, and March 31 this year, fall under the 1,400 ‘special service’ incidents the service attends annually. This includes freeing people from road traffic collisions, water rescues, flooding, animal rescues and lift releases.
Head of Emergency Response Steve Helps, said: “Our firefighters respond professionally to a variety of challenges and continue to provide a first class emergency service, our ethos is to help people in distress or at risk.
“At a time when our Government funding is being severely cut, we think it’s important to highlight incidents like this, which people probably don’t associate us with. We attend far more than just fires and road crashes. Bariatric rescues require specialist skills and equipment and we wonder which other service could help if our resources weren’t available.”
The service has previously highlighted other types of unusual rescues it attends, such as the 87 animal rescues and 27 babies locked in cars.