Firefighters in Doncaster have been called out 14 times over the last three years to assist severely obese people, The Star can reveal.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue attended a total of 79 incidents across the region from 2012 to the end of April this year.
Figures obtained by The Doncaster Star include 30 incidents in Sheffield, 19 in Barnsley and 16 in Rotherham.
The rescue of a ‘bariatric person’ – as severely obese people are categorised on the system – can cost several thousand pounds per incident.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue head of emergency response Phil Shillito said: “Our firefighters respond professionally to a variety of challenges and continue to provide a first class emergency service – our ethos is to help people in distress or at risk.”
“At a time when our Government funding is being severely cut, we think it’s important to highlight incidents like this, which people probably don’t associate us with. We attend far more than just fires and road crashes.
“Bariatric rescues require specialist skills and equipment and we wonder which other service could help if our resources weren’t available.”
Figures obtained by The Star reveal firefighters in Doncaster responded to three of the calls in 2012, seven in 2013, two in 2014 and two so far this year.
In Sheffield, firefighters responded to five incidents in 2012, 10 in 2013, 13 in 2014 and two so far this year.
Figures for Barnsley show firefighters attended four incidents in 2012, six in 2013, five in 2014 and four so far this year.
And in Rotherham, firefighters attended four incidents in 2012, six in 2013, three in 2014 and three so far this year.
The figures also include calls when firefighters were stood down before arrival and were on stand-by, meaning their services were not required.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “Firefighters respond to all types of emergencies with the professionalism you would expect from public servants who put their lives at risk on a daily basis.
“Regardless of the situation firefighters act with care and respect to whomever they are helping.
“Firefighters do not just respond to fires but all emergencies including flooding, road traffic accidents and major incidents such as terrorist attacks.
“In order to continue providing a world class service the fire service needs investment, not cuts.
“Since 2010 the government has cut over 5,000 firefighter jobs, axed over 40 fire stations and 999 emergency response times have increased.”
Health bosses in Doncaster have warned about the potential health risks associated with obesity.
A spokesperson for NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group said: “People who are morbidly obese and not able to move around freely are at risk of developing many other long term health issues, such as diabetes and chronic heart problems.”