Firefighters are asking for better training to help them support people at attempted suicide incidents.
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has seen a “noticeable increase” in callouts to suicide attempts – with 122 incidents since 2016.
A meeting of the North Yorkshire police, fire and crime commissioner heard that firefighters have successfully “talked down” distressed people on a number of occasions.
And that fire crews usually arrive at the scene within minutes – whereas specially-trained police officers may have to travel long distances to reach an incident.
Crews on scene in minutes
Mark Naylor from the fire service told the meeting last week:
We get called to attempted suicides – I wouldn’t say regularly – but we do go to them and it’s an area we could progress.
There are negotiators within the police and they can come from quite hefty travel distances. Our crews can be there on scene within minutes.
Having been to a number of them in the past in and successfully got people down I think the fire service are – I wouldn’t say more likely to get people down – but due to the fact that we are not the enforcer we can try to be that friendly person.
Then we are successful in doing that, and I have been successful myself and it’s something that we’d like to progress.
He said there is “an opportunity” for officers or crews to get extra training to help them at attempted suicide incidents.
Stuart Simpson, the service’s head of risk management, added: “We go to incidents where we’ve got equipment to assist.
“So we can get close to that person, we can make sure our firefighters are safe, but we can also secure that person.
“And that builds us time in to do the negotiation.”