Fire services in the UK have have responded to more than 2,700 calls asking for help assisting seriously obese people, a Freedom of Information request has found out.

The call-outs can cost thousands of pounds to local authorities and the region with the highest amount of calls was South Wales Fire and Rescue Service with a total of 189.

The BBC report:

Out of 58 fire and rescue services in the UK, 53 responded, with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service attending the most calls – a total of 189.

The FOI request also revealed the high costs incurred by responding to calls to assist severely obese people – one three-and-a-half hour rescue carried out by Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) cost over £11,000.

The total cost incurred by NIFRS between 2007/2008 and 2011/2012, to respond to 119 such calls, was £313,000 – the highest figure reported in the FOI data.

In England the most expensive single incident was £5,000, borne by Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service.

London, South Yorkshire and West Midlands fire and rescue services all incurred costs of over £50,000 over 5 years.

You can read the full story including a break down of the fire services with the largest amount of call outs here. 

I am a journalist and author. I am a staff writer at the UK edition of WIRED magazine and in 2015 my book, Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. I created FOI Directory in 2012.