This week we reveal Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s most “unusual call-outs” across Pendle and Burnley over the past three years.
Our firefighters not only tackle blazes and save lives, but also assist East Lancashire residents with their more unexpected dilemmas.
Since 2010 in Pendle, “Special Service Calls” ranged from a woman trapped in a pantry, to a man trapped between a building and a wall. There have also been 53 instances where residents have needed to get a ring removed from their finger.
And in Burnley, fire crews have been called out to deal with an array of more unconventional rescues, including a child with a potty stuck around his neck, a woman with her fingers trapped in an ironing board and a child trapped in a muddy field.
Responding to the data, Lancashire Fire and Rescue’s John Taylor, said: “Conducting rescues in all sorts of situations in addition to saving people from fires is an intrinsic part of a firefighter’s job and from time to time some of the circumstances can be unusual, for sure.”
“The details we’ve provided are a snapshot of the ones we’d consider a bit out of the norm and of course we’d prefer it if people didn’t have to experience the trauma of those incidents in the first place, possibly avoided by taking more care, but when such jobs arise we’re there for them.”
Since details of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s “unusual call-outs” have emerged, Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson and Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle have offered their advice on how certain situations can be avoided.
Mr Stephenson said: “Local firefighters do a fantastic job and these unusual incidents highlight the huge variety of different problems they deal with. Whilst some of these incidents were clearly serious, I would remind people to always remember where they leave the keys to their handcuffs.”
And Mr Birtwistle added: “I am amazed, I can’t believe some of the reasons for the call-outs. How do people get stuck in handcuffs? Odd.
“About the rings, fingers grow, rings don’t shrink, and I understand any good jeweller will take them off without it costing the taxpayer a penny.”
Having been sent to deal with 1,300 incidents involving people being trapped or stuck, often in everyday household items, since 2010, the London Fire Brigade have also stressed the importance of only using 999 in an emergency. The Brigade said that each incident costs taxpayers at least £290, meaning the incidents have cost at least £377,000.
Third officer Dave Brown, said: “Some of the incidents our firefighters are called out to could be prevented with a little common sense. I don’t know whether it’s the Fifty Shades effect, but the number of incidents involving items like handcuffs seems to have gone up. I’m sure most people will be Fifty Shades of red by the time our crews arrive to free them.
“I’d like to remind everyone that 999 is an emergency number and should only be used as such. When firefighters are out attending to some of these avoidable incidents, someone else could be in real need of emergency assistance. If there’s a genuine emergency, fire crews will of course attend and will be on the scene to help within minutes.”