In Brief

Fire brigade blames Fifty Shades of Grey for handcuff calls

Literary sensation could be the cause of an increased number of incidents involving couples

THE FIRE Brigade says that the success of kinky literary sensation Fifty Shades of Grey could be to blame for an increase in call-outs to people trapped in handcuffs, and other devices.

Figures from the London Fire Brigade show a ten per cent increase in calls from people who needed to be freed from various different household, or bedroom, items.

Of the 1,300 incidents since 2010, 79 involved handcuffs and a further nine involved men with rings stuck on their private parts. The brigade also revealed it had been called out to help a man whose penis was stuck in a toaster, and another with his manhood trapped in a vacuum cleaner.

"I don’t know whether it’s the Fifty Shades effect, but the number of incidents involving items like handcuffs seems to have gone up," said spokesman Dave Brown. The brigade advised couples: "If you use handcuffs, always keep the keys handy."

Over the last three years fire crews have helped 18 children with their heads stuck in potties or toilet seats, and a further 17 with their hands trapped in toys.

Some of the emergencies sound rather more gruesome than others. Since 2010 there have been nine call-outs to deal with people who had their hands trapped in blenders or shredding machines.

Many of the incidents "could be prevented with a little common sense," said the brigade, but added that fire crews would always attend a "genuine emergency" within minutes.

"The service estimates each call-out costs the taxpayer about £300, putting the total cost of the incidents close to £400,000," reports the Evening Standard.

The number of calls is on the rise. In 2010/11 crews attended 416 incidents; in 2011/12 the number rose to 441 incidents; and in 2012/13 it shot up to 453. A total of 307 people were injured as a result of these incidents, said the brigade.

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