WIGANERS have had rings cut from their fingers on an almost weekly basis by firefighters, bizarre new figures reveal.
Statistics released by the fire service show that on 243 occasions since 2009 officers have used specialist cutting equipment to remove jewellery from digits.
But the information does not specify whether the removals were due to failed relationships or expanding digits.
Despite each incident taking up valuable time and resources for busy crews, borough fire commander Steve Sheridan said it was part of the service to help those in distress.
Commander Sheridan said: “These people are experiencing extreme discomfort and may have circulation problems as a result of the ring being too tight.
“We do have the specialist equipment to cut the ring from the finger, it takes 10 minutes rather than waiting four hours in A&E.
“It is counted as a full incident which locks the pump up - the cutting disc cuts through gold and silver with a little thin line which means we can ease it off and then it can be repaired if people want to. And it’s mostly adults.
“Specialist service calls; such as cats up trees, rings on fingers, kids stuck in bikes, for example, are quite a big workload for us and remain consistent throughout the year.”
For each of the last five years the number of ring cutting incidents has hovered around the 40 or 50 mark. This means on average a crew from either Wigan, Hindley, Atherton and Leigh stations has been required to carry out a ring removal almost every week.
The incidents include occasions where residents have visited the stations and also where crews have been called out to perform the procedure.
Across all incidents, Wigan’s fire crews have been called out to fewer incidents than ever before, with fewer blazes giving officers more time to engage with the community.
Commander Sheridan said: “In terms of accidental house fires - caused by chip pans, discarded cigarettes - we’re at a level never seen before in this borough.
“The crews have done 6,600 home safety checks this year and from the amount of interactions we have, we can see that people have respect for the fire service and that’s a really positive thing for us.”
Call outs have dropped from 1,925 to 1,600 since last year.