Northern Ireland firefighters rescue more than 30 people every week, according to data obtained by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
According to Fire and Rescue Service Matters – an FBU parliamentary bulletin published today – firefighters here rescued record numbers of people during the last financial year.
The figures reveal that nearly 10 times more people were rescued from non-fire incidents than from fire incidents, as the role of firefighters becomes increasingly varied.
The research shows that nearly 1,700 people were rescued by firefighters in Northern Ireland between April 2017 and March 2018. That’s 141 people rescued each month, or nearly 32 rescues each week – a 12% increase in rescues year-on-year.
Firefighters rescued 1,519 people from non-fire incidents, while 176 were rescued from fires.
Jim Quinn, FBU Northern Ireland Executive Council member, said: “While firefighters continue to protect their communities from fires, these figures show that their role has vastly expanded. They serve a vital role responding to flooding, hazardous chemical spillages, road traffic collisions and lift rescues.
“Firefighters are rescuing more people year-on-year, with non-fire incidents nearly outnumbering fire rescues tenfold.
“These figures show that need for firefighters in all their roles is increasing and reveal the immense value of their lifesaving work.”
Nationally, more than 45,000 people were rescued by firefighters across the UK between April 2017 and March 2018.
Nearly 38,000 people were rescued by firefighters in England and around 2,500 rescues took place in Wales, whilst the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service rescued over 3,500 people.
For the seventh year running, the FBU compiled the figures using Freedom of Information requests, after the government stopped publishing rescue figures.