Wedding rings, handcuffs and letter boxes - The objects firefighters have freed people from in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 06:45 30 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:31 30 April 2020

Some of the items firefighters were called to free people from in Norfolk. Picture: Ricky Scarffs/Archant

Some of the items firefighters were called to free people from in Norfolk. Picture: Ricky Scarffs/Archant


Norfolk’s firefighters have been called upon to remove objects from people more than 200 times in the past five years, figures have revealed.

While the vast majority of Norfolk Fire and Rescue’s time is taken tackling blazes, the service is also often called upon to free people from various predicaments - from helping them removing rings to releasing them from handcuffs.

The most recent figures made available - for the 2018-19 financial year - firefighters were called out 57 times to remove objects from people.

Of these occasions, 28 calls were made to assist somebody in removing a wedding ring, while 16 incidents involved releasing trapped limbs.

During this period, firefighters were called upon to remove handcuffs on two separate occasions.

This is a task the service was required to complete just weeks ago in Great Yarmouth, when a crew was called out to a home in St Peter’s Plain.

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A spokesman said at the time: “They will have called us because they didn’t have the key and became trapped”. It is believed the handcuffs were being used “for personal use”.

Last August, firefighters also attended an address on Rosewood, North Walsham to help a child whose arm had got stuck behind a radiator.

And in July of the same year, firefighters were called to the aid of 31-year-old Ricky Scarff, of Gorleston, who got himself trapped in his letter box after the Yale lock of his door locked him out.

Mr Scarff, of Elder Green, said at the time: “I was there fore about an hour with my hand through the letterbox - I couldn’t get it out.

“My dog was whining, he thought somebody was breaking in. I was getting stressed because I hate being stuck.”

Since 2015, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service was called out to free people from objects 227 times, 53 times in 2015/16, 52 times in 2016/17, 65 times in 2017/18 and 57 times in 2018/19.

Nationally, firefighters removed objects from people 4,878 times in 2018/19 - the largest number of calls of this nature on record. Among these was a call to South Shields, near Newcastle, to the aid of a toddler with a potty stuck on her head.

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