Revealed: Number of people so overweight they cannot move being rescued by South Yorkshire fire service

An obese person. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA
An obese person. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA
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The number of obese people needing specialist rescues from South Yorkshire’s fire service has increased by more than 22 per cent in the last three years.

‘Bariatric rescues’ involve fire services using specialist equipment to help people who are so overweight they cannot move.

South Yorkshire fire engines in 2013

South Yorkshire fire engines in 2013

These rescues are often necessary if another emergency service needs the equipment.

For example, paramedics sometimes need help to lift or move an obese person who requires medical attention.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue carried out 33 bariatric rescues in 2015/16, coming 11th in a list of all 50 UK fire and rescue services compiled by the BBC.

Bariatric rescues across the UK have increased by more than a third in the last three years according to the BBC’s findings.

The number of South Yorkshire cases is small considering the 1.3 million people living in the area.

But Tony Carlin, Head of Emergency Response for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said people need to realise that the fire service is involved with these kinds of situations.

“At a time when our funding is reducing, 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," he 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.

“Bariatric rescues require specialist skills and equipment and we wonder which other service could help if our resources weren’t available.”