FIREFIGHTERS in West Yorkshire were called out to lift or help obese people 47 times in the past five years, official figures show.
Last year the number of call-outs to so-called ‘bariatric rescues’ hit a five year high.
Three of the call-outs in the past five years took at least four hours and many involved multiple rescue vehicles.
One rescue, on July 6, 2016, was dealt with by between 20 and 29 members of staff in at least seven vehicles.
The news comes as neighbouring South Yorkshire Police reveals plans to train each of its firefighters to deal with bariatric rescues in response to a surge in incidents, including one where five crew members ended up hurt during the same operation.
The service’s head of emergency response, Tony Carlin, said: “We’re attending more incidents involving bariatric patients, both because of societal changes and the fact that our crews now respond to a wider range of incidents, such as calls to help the ambulance service gain access to certain properties.”
Bariatric rescues often involve helping paramedics to transport a severely obese person to hospital, because they are unwell or unable to move on their own.
Rescuers can use specialist equipment such as slings and hoists and sometimes have to remove furniture, doors or windows in order to free the patient.