Because they are too heavy to walk on their own, more severely obese individuals than ever before are being saved by FIREFIGHTERS

  • Some people need to be saved by lifting or removing their windows
  • The 2020 number of firefighters in England was 1,614 – a 24% increase over 2019.
  • In 2012, only 429 rescues were performed across the nation. 
  • The number of firefighters has fallen to 35.279 from 42.058 in the past ten years.

According to the new figures from Home Office, more severely obese individuals are being saved by firefighters than ever before because they can no longer move on their own.

To help the increasing number of obese individuals trapped inside their homes, firefighters are being called. 

There were 1,614 emergency calls for firefighters in 2020, which is 24 percent more than what was done the year prior. There were only 429 rescues for what is known as “bariatric aids” when records started. 

Many people are being saved by special equipment and special slings.  

Chairman of the National Obesity Forum Tam Fry believes that these numbers “will continue to increase for many years” 

He stated that even after the new government-funded plans to combat obesity have been implemented, many people still need to be rescued from their homes to receive treatment.

This is the result of thirty years’ worth of political indifference.

The number of severely obese people needing to be rescued is at an all-time high. (File image)

There are many people who are severely obese that need to be saved. (File image)

Many are having to be rescued by the removal of banisters, windows and walls or with the help of lifting equipment and special slings. (File image)

Many need to be saved with lifting equipment or special slings. (File image)


Rescue operations have reached new heights. Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service recorded a record 29 bariatric assistance calls, which is more than the 15 that took place before the 2019 pandemic. 

Seventeen rescues were performed by between ten to 19 firefighters. Eighteen of these officers were kept busy for more than two hours.

And 72 percent of all rescues were performed by firefighters who spent 15 to an hour providing help. 

Despite dwindling firefighter numbers, rescue missions are requiring between ten and 19 firefighters in some instances. (File image)

Rescue missions sometimes require between 10 and 19 firefighters, despite a declining firefighter force. (File image)

The majority of rescues require between 15 minutes and an hour but some officers are having to spend up to two hours assisting. (File image)

Most rescues take between 15 and 30 minutes, but there are some cases where officers can spend as much time helping as two hours. (File image)

Additionally, on at least three occasions, four firefighters were needed to assist and on five calls for help, three fire engines were also required.

While officers have been called into assist in bariatric emergencies since they first began to be recorded 10 years ago, the availability of firefighters nationwide has declined. There was a decrease in officers between 42,058 and 35,279. 

One spokesperson from the Home Office stated that 0.3% were caused by bariatric events.

New rules have been implemented to address the obesity crisis, with businesses who have more than 250 employees now permitted to display calories information on menus. (File image)

The obesity crisis has been addressed by new regulations. Companies with over 250 employees can now display calories information on their menus. (File image)

How much have bariatric assists  increased in England?

2012: When records began, there were just  429 rescues made to assist obese people who were trapped.

2019:The number of rescues was 1,326 – an increase in comparison to 2012.

2020:1 614 bariatric aids were needed – an increase of 24% over the previous year 

In some cases, firefighters may be required to help in numbers of between ten- and nineteen.

However, the national number of firefighters is down from 42,058 last 2012 to 35 279 in 2012.

Source: Home Office  

‘Fire and rescue services have the resources they need to do their important work – overall they will receive around £2.5 billion in 2022/23.’  

The new April rules were put in place to promote healthy eating.

Also, there are changes to limit the promotion of unhealthy foods online. These will be in effect starting October.

In February, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan revealed that an academic study showed that Transport for London’s ban on advertising junk food contributed to a 1,001 calorie decrease in unhealthy purchases in people’s weekly shopping.

Backlash was received by members of the general public, who wondered how TFL could cause it.

However, the study did not compare shopping behavior to those in cities before and after the ban on junk food ads. It also examined purchasing habits in North England where there is no similar measure. 

The results equated to each person eating 385 less calories per week, according to the study published by Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.