Firefighters called on to rescue obese

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DOZEN of Wiganers have had to be rescued from their homes by firefighters - because they are too fat.

New figures show Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service have been called into action 72 times since 2009 for so-called ‘bariatric assists’ – when paramedics need help moving or releasing someone because of their weight.

There were 23 incidents last year, 22 in 2010 and 19 in 2009 – plus seven already this year.

Crews in Wigan carried out the most – 12 – compared with just two in Bury. People in North Manchester were involved in 10 requests for help. There were nine in Tameside, eight each in Rochdale and Oldham, six in Stockport, and four each in Trafford, Salford, Bolton and South Manchester.

Most of the incidents were recorded as ‘miscellaneous special service incidents’ by fire service call-handlers.

Seven were listed as people who were trapped and eight were listed as rescues. Assistant County Fire Officer Paul Argyle said: “As an emergency service, our priority is to save lives regardless of the situation.

“We see this function - working with our colleagues from the North West Ambulance Service to provide specialist skills and some equipment - as part of our role to deliver a professional service to the public of Greater Manchester.” A spokesperson for the North West Ambulance Service said: “We work in partnership to provide the best possible level of care to the patient.”

Obesity is now considered one of the biggest health issues facing doctors.