London

Firefighters rescue hundreds of people stuck in toilets

Engaged sign on public toilet door
Image caption Out of order: Firefighters say they rescue lots of people from "sticky situations which could have been avoided"

Firefighters have rescued more than 650 people from locked toilets since 2016.

London Fire Brigade urged members of the public to "use common sense" before dialling 999 after receiving 659 calls from people locked in loos.

It said firefighters also had to rescue a child with their head wedged in a potty, a woman stuck up a tree and a pigeon trapped inside a chimney.

As well as the "unusual" calls, the brigade had more than 30,000 malicious hoax calls in the last five years.

Deputy Commissioner Tom George said: "No matter how strange a call may seem, we will always attend if there is a genuine emergency but you should always think carefully about how to use our resources.

"A number of the more unusual calls we attend involve children or animals so we would always urge Londoners to keep an eye on their youngsters or pets to ensure they aren't getting themselves into sticky situations which could be avoided."

Some calls to the brigade in the past few years have included:

  • 56 cats and dogs in need of rescuing
  • 17 children with their heads stuck in toilet seats
  • A woman stuck in a tree while trying to retrieve a cat in Hillingdon
  • A child with their head stuck in a potty in Westminster
  • A bus driver locked in a toilet at a bus stand in Lambeth
  • A pigeon stuck in a chimney in Richmond

Over the five year period the Brigade has seen a drop in the number of malicious hoax calls.

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Mr George said the decrease came after emergency call handlers were trained up to challenge calls they believed to not be genuine.