Firefighters rescuing more obese people

Updated: 

The number of obese people being removed from buildings by firefighters because they are too large to move independently has risen by more than a third in three years, according to new figures.

Lifting equipment and special slings are often used, while windows, walls and interior fittings have to be removed to facilitate extraction on occasion because individuals are so large.

Figures obtained by BBC Radio 5 Live show how in the past year there were more than 900 incidents in the UK where rescuers have been called in to relocate people who are severely obese.

The number of cases rose from 709 in 2012-13 to 944 in 2015-16. There has been a rise in incidents year on year since separate records began to be kept of bariatric - obese - rescues.

These are said to have included several incidents when firefighters have been asked to help remove a deceased obese person to an undertakers' vehicle.

Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, told the BBC that the problem is worsening because obese people are getting larger.

"This is not about more people being obese. This is about those who are already obese now getting to a size where they now need assistance."