It’s one of the most dangerous jobs possible, and certainly one that not everybody is cut out for, but just how many lives do they save, and how many of them die trying?
Loads, is the short answer.
The Fire Brigades Union has revealed that an average of 105 people are saved every day, whether from fires, floods, road accidents or chemical spills.
Over 38,000 people were rescues by Britain’s firefighters in the last year, and for every one person that died in a blaze, another ten lives were saved.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of Fire Brigades Union said:
These figures on rescues are a fantastic testament to the everyday work of our firefighters across the UK.
These rescues mean people are alive, or uninjured who otherwise might not have been.
The risks faced by our communities mean that we need firefighters more than ever.
They train and prepare every day for the whole range of incidents they may have to face and they do not simply wait for emergencies – they work systematically to stop fires and other emergencies from happening.
They really are lifesavers who make us all safer.
Between April last year, and March this year, 38,144 people were saved. Of these, only 3,720 were saved from a fire blaze. A 17% drop on four years ago.
But 34,424 people were saved in non-fire rescues, which include traffic accidents, floods, building collapses and explosions, which is a 5% increase from 2010.
FBU head of research Dr Paul Hampton said:
As these new figures show, firefighters are involved in tens of thousands of rescues every year, from fires to floods to incidents involving hazardous chemicals to lift releases to road traffic incidents.
Firefighters always step in and help at incidents, no matter what has happened and despite considerable risks to themselves – that is what firefighters do.
They help people who put themselves in dangerous situations – they aren’t there to judge.
Firefighters are there to save lives and protect people, and the new research bears this out.
Sadly, the number of firefighters dying on duty has increased. Figures show that 14 died on duty in the ten years up to 2013, up from 6 in the decade previous.
In England 2013-2014, 3,146 firefighters were injured on operations, training and routine activities.
Britain's firefighters rescued 38,000 people last year. This is on top of huge range of prevention + wellbeing work. http://t.co/ZVsngD94zG
— WestMidsFireService (@WestMidsFire) August 2, 2015
UNILAD spoke to West Midlands Fire spokesperson, Pawan Dhande:
These figures show the large numbers of rescues carried out every day by firefighters across Britain.
This is on top of a huge and varied programme of prevention and wellbeing work, ranging from working with the vulnerable and elderly to make their homes safer to educating children and young people on safety issues.
West Midlands Fire Service are proactively trying to prevent fires and accidents, which could potentially save lives of both the public and the firefighters. They recently posted this on their Facebook page, warning people of the dangers of plug in air fresheners.
It’s not a job most of us are brave enough or cut out for, so firefighters across the UK, keep doing a great job, we salute you.