Fat patients are a heavy burden on Sunderland fire fighters

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FIREFIGHTERS are called out to carry overweight Wearsiders out of their homes – because they are too fat to do so on their own.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has carried out 22 “bariatric assists” across Sunderland since 2010.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service district manager John Hall

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service district manager John Hall

It has cost the brigade £5,643.81 to carry them out, according to figures obtained from a Freedom of Information request.

A total of six assists were carried out in Sunderland in 2012, down from nine in 2011.

There were seven cases of overweight people needing to be helped out of their homes in 2010.

Most of the call-outs were listed as “assist other agencies” – such as the ambulance service.

Silksworth is the area of the city where most of the assists were carried, with five taking place in the last three years.

Fire service district manager John Hall said: “We have a key role in responding to people who find themselves in life-threatening situations. Our firefighters are fully trained and appropriately equipped to respond to a variety of incidents, including bariatric rescues.

“In Sunderland, we have been asked to assist in a small number of these incidents. When we are carrying out our duties, we always treat those who need our services with the utmost dignity and respect.”

Obesity continues to be a hot health topic on Wearside, with 40 per cent of adults in Sunderland classed as overweight.

Added to that, about a quarter of children in Year 6 – the final year at primary school – are obese.

It was revealed earlier this month that 7,000 people in the UK are in receipt on benefits because they are too fat to work.

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