TWENTY-seven severely obese people were helped by firefighters after they fell or when ambulance crews needed help in moving them.
The figure has been released by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYRF) to highlight the specialist work it carries out as well as dealing with fires.
The calls to help severely obese people are known as “bariatric rescues” and SYFR said they can take whole teams of firefighters to carry out, often requiring specialist equipment and training to perform.
Bariatric rescues fall under the 1,400 special service incidents SYFR attends each year, including 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.”
SYFR has previously highlighted other types of rescue it attends, such as the 87 animal rescues, 27 babies locked in cars and four incidents of children stuck in playground equipment it has attended in the last year.
All 27 bariatric rescues occurred between April 2013 and March 2014.