Dozens of severely obese people helped by South Yorkshire firefighters

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Firefighters in South Yorkshire were called out to help move dozens of severely obese people following falls and when they were too big for paramedics to lift alone.

The fire service responded to 27 calls for assistance last year to help move severely overweight men and women.

Many of the rescues involved specialist lifting equipment and officers trained to deal with such incidents.

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 27 rescues, made between April 2013 and March 2014, were among 1,400 ‘special service’ incidents South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue attended last year, including freeing people from road traffic collisions, dealing with flooding incidents, helping casualties in water and freeing people trapped in lifts.

The fire service has dealt with 87 animal rescues, 27 babies locked in cars and four incidents of children stuck in playground equipment in the last year.