THE number of crashes attended by the fire service across East Lancashire has risen over the last five years, new figures show.

Between 2014 and 2015, crews from Blackburn attended 42 accidents, 12 of which required motorists or passengers to be cut from vehicles.

Over the following five years this number steadily increased, with crews being called out to 55 incidents in 2018/19 - a total increase of 30 percent.

In Burnley, 29 crashes were attended between 2018 and 2019, an increase of 61 percent since 2014/15.

In Colne, fire crews attended seven incidents in 2014/15, which then increased to 12 for this year, with Darwen seeing a 50 percent rise in incidents attended over the same time period.

Firefighters attended nine crashes in Haslingden in 2014/15 with the figure doubling for this year.

And again, the fire service attended more crashes in Hyndburn in 2018/19 than they did in 2014/15, with the figures being 32 and 26 respectively.

However, some towns across the region saw a drop in the number of car crashes attended by the fire service, with Padiham and Nelson both seeing decreases of 21 percent between 2014 and 2019.

The overall increase in attendances appears to have happened across the whole of the county, not just East Lancashire, with the total number of crashes attended by the fire service in 2014/15 sitting at 532, rising to 632 for 2018/19.

However, the fire service are not required to attend every incident that occurs, only the ones that could require specialist assistance.

The number of crashes on Lancashire’s roads in total in 2018 was 3,034, with 358 of those being in Blackburn with Darwen.

Group manager for prevention, protection and roads safety Matthew Hamer said: “The number of road traffic collisions that we have attended this year has risen slightly in areas such as Burnley, Hyndburn and Blackburn, however the number of people requiring extraction has remained consistent over the last five years.

“The service attends road traffic collisions in order to extricate casualties or reduce the risk to other road users.

“There may be occasions where firefighters do not attend road traffic collisions, so the numbers presented may not give an accurate reflection of the overall increase or decrease in incidents.

“We are a strategic partner within the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership whose focus is to reduce road traffic collisions and their impacts.

“Our staff work in partnership with other emergency services to deliver road safety packages to every school child in Lancashire and at sixth forms, college and universities.

“As the festive period approaches we would urge everyone to be mindful of the after effects of alcohol and to consider their transport the day after an event.

“Likewise, as the weather begins to change please consider their vehicles suitability and drive to the conditions of the road.”

The number of people who died on Lancashire’s roads last year has also increased, with 54 fatalities in the 12 months to June 2019, up from 40 in the 12 months to June 2018.

Lancashire Road Safety Partnership and Lancashire Constabulary are now highlighting the impact of lives lost on the county’s roads in a new exhibition called the 59 shoes project, using a mixture of pairs of shoes to represent each victim.

There are five main contributory factors that cause serious road traffic collisions, known as the Fatal Five ­– mobile phone use, drink/drug driving, not using a seat belt, speeding, and careless driving.

Sue Bushell, Chief Inspector of Lancashire Constabulary’s Roads Policing Team said: “We have worked together with the victims’ families to create this project.

“Lancashire Road Safety Partnership works with bereaved families across the county who wish to raise awareness of the fatal five.”