Fire chiefs slam TikTok trend causing teens to get stuck in baby swings: ‘We’ve better things to do’
On May 1, firefighters reportedly had to assist a 14-year-old girl who had become stuck in playground equipment in a park
From the “Take a look at my girlfriend” challenge, to the “Without telling me” challenge, to the “Now look at this” challenge, TikTok trends are fun to watch, and if you’re a content creator, then fun to execute as well. But, one trend is proving particularly annoying for firemen all over England. And they are grumbling about it.
As per a report in The Sun, fire chiefs in the UK have slammed a TikTok trend that has as a rule resulted in teens getting stuck in baby swings. This is caused by teenagers squeezing themselves inside swings and park equipment designed for infants to film videos for a TikTok trend. And in order to get them out, on several occasions, the swingsets have to be cut and damaged.
The tabloid reported that data obtained through Freedom of Information requests show there were at least 777 callouts in the UK in 2020 for people who got stuck. This is a 77.3 percent increase from the 438 swing rescues conducted in 2019. Sources told the tabloid that the aforementioned TikTok trend made a large part of this.
As per the report, Scotland Fire and Rescue Service received 98 calls -- almost one every three days -- in 2020, as compared to 48 in 2019. London Fire Brigade received 52 such calls in 2020, an increase from 32 in 2019. In fact, the London Fire Brigade has already rescued at least 21 people from swings so far in 2021, the report added.
On May 1, firefighters reportedly had to assist a 14-year-old girl who had become stuck in playground equipment in a park in Ruislip, north-west London. The crew had to dismantle the swing and then had to use pressure to expand it so the girl could be released. While the teenager was uninjured and the swing was reassembled in this case, sometimes cutting equipment has been required in such cases, which damages swings.
In Kent, the calls for swing rescues increased from 22 to 45. Similarly in Devon and Somerset, the numbers went from 23 in 2019 to 40 in 2020. And finally, Lancashire’s swing rescue calls went from 14 in 2019 to 40 in 2020. The report added that call-outs roughly doubled for fire services in Merseyside, Manchester, and Leicestershire. And in Essex, Buckinghamshire, Cleveland, Worcester, Northamptonshire, and Northern Ireland, these calls tripled in numbers and then some.
British Conservative Party politician and Member of Parliament for Amber Valley, Nigel Mills said about this nuisance: “This is shocking and ridiculous at the same time. It’s a total waste of resources for firefighters. People who do this should be fined. They are for babies to play in not older people. I’d be tempted to leave them there, although, I suppose, you can’t really. How awful would it be if a firefighter couldn’t get to a fatal house fire quick enough because he was freeing these idiots.”
Speaking to the tabloid, one firefighter said, “This craze is definitely to blame for the increase. We have better things to be doing than cutting teenagers out of swings who think it’s a laugh. While we are dealing with them a house fire could be killing people. It’s very irritating. TikTok videos will be to blame for a lot of those.”
Back in May, London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner for Fire Stations Jane Philpott said, “In their quest for TikTok fame, people have been potentially diverting our crews from more serious incidents and that isn’t something we want to see. We would ask people to please just think twice before taking part in this challenge – think of the injuries you could cause yourself, the damage to the swings which have to be cut apart, and most of all the fact you’re tying up resources that could be needed for a genuine emergency. It might be a fun story for your friends, but wasting the time of emergency services is serious.”