WITH freezing temperatures set to stay and significant snow fall forecast for Friday, West Midlands Ambulance Service is urging the public to take some simple precautions to stay safe and healthy.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “There are simple steps that the public can take to help them stay safe during this wintery weather. Make sure you wrap up warm and wear sensible footwear, helping to avoid slips, trips and falls.
“If the weather does take a turn for the worse, please avoid or delay any unnecessary journeys. If you really need to travel by road, make sure you allow extra time for your journey and be extra vigilant on icy and snow covered roads.
“Motorists should consider carrying a few essentials with them in the winter months in case of a breakdown or delay such as an ice-scraper, torch, warm clothes and a blanket, a pair of boots, a first aid kit, battery jump leads, a snow shovel and food and drink. If you’re heading off on a long journey, make sure your mobile phone is also fully charged.
“No-one wants to be a misery but although snow and ice can be a huge amount of fun, it can also be quite dangerous. Every winter we’re called to people who have become injured whilst sledging. We would encourage people to just take a second to think about where they are sledging and to have fun safely. Clearly playing on frozen lakes and canals can also have tragic consequences if people fall on or through the ice.
“People with existing medical conditions that can be aggravated by cold weather should stay warm and be prepared by making sure they have all their medications, saving any avoidable journeys.
“We also appeal for people to be aware of those who are elderly, frail or in some way vulnerable to this type of weather, be it friends, neighbours or relatives. Why not show some community spirit and ensure that people in these categories do not have to go out and risk hurting themselves by getting in any essential supplies that they might need?
“The ambulance service historically experiences some of its busiest periods during winter and the public are asked to think before dialing 999. Is your call really a serious life threatening emergency that requires an immediate 999 medical response? Ambulance crews have to use the same snow and ice covered roads to get to emergencies as everyone else and therefore may take longer to get to patient safely in such challenging conditions.
“If you do need medical treatment but your condition is not life threatening, please consider using parts of the NHS other than A&E and the 999 service. Advice and treatment can be sought from pharmacists, your GP, walk in centres, minor injuries units and NHS Direct via 0845 46 47 or on-line at www.nhs.uk.”