cfocourtneySouth Yorkshire fire officers have highlighted the vast range of non-fire rescue incidents the service responds to each year, as they battle against further Government funding cuts.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) has revealed it attends more than 1,400 ‘special service’ incidents across the country each year, many of them essential to save lives, including freeing people from road traffic collisions. Other ‘special service’ incidents included water rescues, flooding, animal rescues and lift releases.

Officers say the figure highlights the broad range of work the service is called to respond to, with tackling fires making up only part of the work of the modern fire and rescue service.

Vast range of incidents

Chief Fire Officer James Courtney, said: “Government officials may see our success in reducing house fires by a third in the last ten years and assume it is easy to make cuts to our service, but the ‘rescue’ element of our name is as important as ‘fire’.

"It’s easy to forget the vast range of incidents our firefighters get called to deal with. Although our community safety work has reduced fires significantly in recent years, fire and rescue services still get called to an enormous range of incidents, many of which require highly specialised skills, equipment and training to deal with.”

Recent, unusual incidents South Yorkshire’s firefighters have attended include:
• A horse rescued from a river in Smithies, Barnsley
• A bull rescued from a ditch in Thorne, Doncaster
• A man on a mobility scooter stranded in a muddy field near Edlington
• Unexploded munitions found in a home in Penistone
• A roof blown off a care home in Wincobank, Sheffield
• A teenager stuck in mud in Rivelin, Sheffield

But officers are also reminding residents only to call 999 when there is a genuine emergency, after highlighting a number of incidents where members shouldn’t have dialled 999.

“As much as there are many types of incidents we do attend, people still need to understand that we are an emergency service and should only call if they really need us. We’re not here to help you fix something in your home, unlock your front door or do your plumbing. In those circumstances, there are other agencies who you should call to help,” added CFO Courtney.