Fire brigade dealing with weekly call outs to lift obese people

© Michaelpuche | - Fire Service. Photo-2The London Fire Brigade is called to helps lift a severely obese person in their home at least once a week.

Data published by the brigade for the past three financial years shows that fire officers were involved in more than 200 incidents which are referred to as assisting bariatric people.

This type of incident is not formally recorded by the LFB but classified as ‘other services’, as are animal rescues.  They are identified by the call information and messages transmitted during the incidents.

The numbers for the past three financial years are consistent and fairly evening spread across London.  The largest number of incidents was recorded in Croydon.

The majority of calls came from the Ambulance Service who needed help to deal with someone who was too heavy to lift.   In other incidents fire officers have rescued a person who became wedged in a bath and others trapped in cars or buses.

In a small number of call outs fire officers have helped lift people in hospitals and nursing homes.

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See also

Fire service is called to rescue hundreds of cats and it costs thousands

A fifth of the blazes tackled by fire fighters are started on purpose

How the obesity rate doubled for the class of 2007

Police say violent crime is up, but it may be the way it’s recorded

police hi viz jacketsViolent assault in London jumped by a fifth in the past year, according to data from the Metropolitan Police. There were nearly 70,000 recorded assaults causing injury, or in the more serious cases, grievous bodily harm in the year to March.

Harassment and common assault, which covers the threat of being hurt, were up by 38%. And sexual offences rose by a third to 15,000.

The overall crime rate in London has remained static at 700,000 offences.  While crimes against people went up there was better news for crimes against property with theft down 7%, burglary down 14% and a 22% fall in robbery.

Crime chart March 2015

But the rising figures that give a frightening picture of life on the streets of London may be a product of the way crime is being recorded by the police.

The Met, along with other police services, was criticised last year by HM Inspector of Constabulary for under-recording many serious offences.  As a result, recording procedures have  improved.  In evidence to the Greater London Authority Police and Crime Committee last autumn the Met said that the number of reports of violent incidents recorded as crimes has risen from 40% in 2012 to 75%.  Assistant Commissioner Helen Knight also said that a third of assault cases were the result of domestic abuse, which is now much better recorded.

Figures from the London Ambulance Service, reported by Urbs, give a different picture of violent crime.  Its records show that crews attended 20% fewer incidents that they believed to be assaults in the last year. The difference in levels may indicate that they attend only the more serious incidents.

Crime Assault comparison

Many experts are sceptical of the ability of police recording to accurately reflect true levels of crime and prefer to use the Crime Survey of England and Wales, which interviews 50,000 people about their experience. It finds that violent crime is on a downward trend.

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Barking not worst for bites

hThe area of London with the friendliest dogs is ….yes, you might have guessed, Barking.

Among the mass of data collected by the London Ambulance Service are the figures for injuries caused by large animals, which are mostly dog bites.  The data tells us that over a 3 year period there were 7 injuries for every 1000 Londoners. But take a bow Barking and Dagenham, where it is half that. Contrary to the stereotype that it is the poorer areas of outer London where the dangerous dogs prowl, it is Kensington and Chelsea where you need to watch out for snappy pooches. The royal borough has nearly twice as many injuries as the average.

As incident numbers are relatively low overall, about one per day, Urbs combined the available data across a 3 year period from March 2012 to Feb 2015.  In that time there were 1212 injuries.

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The data behind failing ambulance response times

hThe London Ambulance Service responded to more than a million calls last year.  That works out at 2740 calls per day or 114 calls per hour.

Some areas of the capital are much busier than others. Data analysis by Urbs shows that the London wide borough average of calls per 1000 residents is 121. It is much higher in central London.

In the City of London it is 778 per thousand residents, reflecting the small numbers of residents compared to the large number of people working and socialising in the area. The figures for Westminster, Camden and Islington are also high on this measure. But some more residential outer London boroughs also have high call out rates. Barking and Dagenham, and Hilingdon are above the London average.

The service employs 4500 staff at 70 stations. It is under considerable pressure and currently failing to meet the national response time targets.  It should get to 75% of the immediately life-threatening incidents within 8 minutes.  Figures from the service for the six months to January this year show the monthly average of 62% or lower.  The head of the service, Ann Radmore, resigned in January.  Response times for February and March are yet to be published.

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Latest response times

Fall in assaults makes city safer

hLondon is becoming a safer city.  There has been a 40% drop in assaults where an ambulance was called to deal with injuries in the last 4 years. The past year alone has seen a 20% reduction.

Data from the London Ambulance Service shows that in the year ending February 2015 ambulance crews and paramedics attended 26,000 calls to treat assault injuries. In 2011 it was 46,000 incidents.  Assaults on women and teenagers are falling in line with the general trend.

There are also fewer incidents involving weapons. Gun shot injuries are down 50% over 4 years.  Knife crime saw dramatic falls between 2011 and 2013 but has gone back up a little in recent months.  In the year ending February 2015 there were 1,500 knife wounding incidents dealt with by the ambulance service.


The assault figures are down in every borough. Harrow has seen the most significant improvement where the fall is 37%.  In Tower Hamlets it is 14%.  In attacks on teenagers, seen as a particularly vulnerable group, there is good news across the city, except in Greenwich, where the numbers were slightly up.

The data on knife injuries shows a less uniform picture. Lambeth and Southwark have the highest number but there’s been a reduction in the past twelve months.  Hackney and Haringey also have significant numbers and the rate there has increased.


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Note: The data is based on retrospective reporting by ambulance crews/paramedics and 999 call handlers of incidents where they judged an assault had taken place.