Firefighters injured - in their stations

THEY are famed for their bravery when it comes to going into burning buildings and rescuing people, but it seems that Essex's firefighters have been struggling with some of the more mundane challenges they face.

James Hore

THEY are famed for their bravery when it comes to going into burning buildings and rescuing people, but it seems that Essex's firefighters have been struggling with some of the more mundane challenges they face.

The county's fire and rescue service reported more than 70 shift-time injuries last year to the national Health and Safety Executive.

Among the more unusual incidents was one firefighter who fell onto his shoulder during a game of leapfrog and another who twisted an ankle during a game of volleyball.


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The kitchens at stations across the county are no safer with one officer damaging his back when moving a freezer, another cut a thumb while preparing food and another cut his finger on glass when he was getting something from under a fridge.

The details have come to light in a Freedom of Information request to the force.

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Of the 73 injuries reported between April last year and the end of March more than a quarter took place during exercise training sessions.

At least five of the injuries happened during games of football, including a rib cage injury during an inter station match and a fractured wrist.

But it is on the volleyball courts that the firefighters have been suffering the most, with eight hurt when landing awkwardly during practice sessions.

And while it may sound like a cliché, one officer injured his back during efforts to rescue a cat and another was injured when kicked by a horse during special services duty.

Last night the county's chief fire officer stressed that the sporting activities play an important part in keeping firefighters at the peak of physical fitness.

Essex Chief Fire Officer David Johnson said: “Physical training and team sports play an important role in maintaining the physical fitness of firefighters and supporting the team work ethic that plays an important part of a firefighter's role.

“We do however recognise that there are risks to these types of activity and we are constantly looking for ways to reduce the numbers of accidents and injuries that occur balanced against the recognised benefits.”

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