Raymond Macaree "isn't the smallest guy'' in the world and he's one of many Christchurch residents being rescued not by St John, but by the Fire Service.
The 69-year-old retiree weighs about 176kg and has diabetes. He had to be rescued by Wainoni firefighters after he fell out of bed about 2am on Monday when his blood sugar levels fell.
And while medical lifts are seen as being part of their job, Wainoni fire station officer Chris Freeman said he's worried it is damaging the backs of firefighters.
"There's no gentle way to do it. We use a heavy sheet by putting it underneath the patient and rolling the sides up to help lift them but that depends on access. It's becoming an issue for that reason. We are called by St John if they can't handle it,'' he said.
Two weeks ago city station firefighters were called out to help lift a 160kg man and firefighters from Wainoni were called out to help lift a 230kg man.
A 350kg Linwood man had to be lifted into the back of an ambulance with a forklift last year after he needed to go to hospital where he later died, said Mr Freeman.
Said Mr Macaree: "I tried to grab a biscuit off my walker tray and I fell out of bed onto my side. My levels were that low I was starting to go into a coma. I was shaking and my eyes were sore. I managed to press my medic alarm which alerted St John. They couldn't find the spare key so they smashed a hole in the window to try and get to me.
"No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't move. I was exhausted and had cramp in my legs,'' he said.
The two paramedics couldn't get into the flat in Dolamore Pl, Aranui, because the hole they'd smashed in the window was too small so they called the Fire Service.
Wainoni fire station officer Mark Elstone said he could hear the man calling for help when they arrived.
"One of our wonder lads, Richie, who's built like a greyhound, climbed through the window and unlocked the door. It was a small bedroom. There were two of us on either side of him and we managed to prop him up and lift him back toward his bed,'' he said.
About 40 minutes later, the two paramedics and four firefighters had lifted Mr Macaree who had bruised his left arm and was very "distressed'' back onto his bed.
The paramedics injected glucose into Mr Macaree and he came right after a few minutes.
"I'm not the smallest guy. I've had diabetes for over 30 years and I've always struggled with my weight. I was surprised the Fire Service was called but I am so grateful to them for helping me. Mr Elstone, who has been part of the Fire Service for 26 years, said heavy lift medical callouts are becoming regular.
"I've seen an increase in the number of medicals we have been called to. This is just part of our job helping St John,'' he said.
- New Zealand's heaviest man: Desmond Ng, 27, of Churton Park, Wellington. After having gastric bypass surgery his weight decreased from 350kg to 280kg.
- Heaviest living man in the world: Manuel Uribe, of Mexico, weighs 444.6kg and holds the December 2009 Guiness World Record.
- Heaviest women in the world: Pauline Potter, of United States, weighs 291.6kg.
Source: wiki.answers. com and Guinness World Records