Firefighters shot at, bitten, and headbutted on call-outs

Firefighters in Dublin have been punched, kicked, and even threatened with guns while on call-outs, with figures showing almost 150 incidents of violence and abuse since the start of 2010.

At least 142 incidents have been reported in the past two-and-a-half years involving firefighters and ambulance staff in the city, including an incident in which a fire crew was shot at while attempting to put out a blaze in 2010.

About 30 incidents have been reported up to Aug 28, with Dublin Fire Brigade staff physically assaulted in almost half of those cases.

The figures were released to the Medical Independent following a freedom of information request and outline a catalogue of abuse.

According to the data, ambulance and fire staff have been bitten, headbutted, intimidated, exposed to blood, and threatened with guns and pitchforks.

They have been spat at or vomited on, and their vehicles damaged by bottles, golf balls, stones, irons, car jacks, bricks, and eggs.

There were 56 incidents reported last year and the same figure in 2010. In one incident last year, a fire-fighter was targeted by a patient who was brandishing a knife. In another case, a firefighter’s hand was bitten, and in 2012 there were 19 recorded incidents of assault or attempted assault.

The previous year, a firefighter received a broken nose after being struck by a patient in an ambulance.

Dublin Fire Brigade, which annually deals with 70,000 call-outs, acknowledged the figures did not include incidents which were never reported.

Dublin City Council was yesterday unable to disclose the areas of the city where the incidents have taken place in recent years.

Last year it was reported that a senior Dublin Fire Brigade officer had glass land in his eye after a rock was thrown at his fire engine as it responded to a call at a caravan off the N32 near Coolock.

In that case, the firefighter needed treatment at both the Beaumont and Mater hospitals.

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