With the heatwave set to continue across the region this weekend, West Midlands Ambulance Service is urging the public to use restraint in calling 999 for an emergency response.
The ambulance service is bracing itself for another challenging weekend after the previous two have seen call numbers soar over the 3,000 mark. Yesterday (Thursday) the Met Office issued a Level 3 Heatwave Alert for the region.
One of the concerns for WMAS from a continuing hot spell is the number of calls to serious breathing problems. 999 calls to patients with breathing difficulties and chest pain reached almost 1,000 calls over the last weekend.
WMAS Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer Daren Fradgley said: “A prolonged heat wave poses a real danger to those patients with emphysema, asthma and long term breathing problems.
“The hot weather makes breathing difficult even for healthy individuals. That’s why we suggest people with respiratory illnesses should remain indoors as much as possible.
“It is vital that we get to these patients as quickly as possible and would therefore ask the public to assist us by only calling 999 in life threatening situations.”
Helpful hints this weekend:
· If you’re out in the sun make sure you apply plenty of sun cream, wear a hat and light, loose fitting cotton clothes. Avoid being out between 11am and 3pm, which is the hottest part of the day.
· Drink plenty of fluids, such as water, to keep yourself hydrated. Remember, caffeine and alcohol can have the opposite effect and can actually dehydrate you.
· Fancy a swim? Then please do so in a supervised swimming pool. No matter how tempting it is to cool off in rivers and lakes. The Trust has sadly dealt with a number of incidents in open water.
· If a barbecue is on the cards, please ensure that it is lit safely and in the correct manner. Avoid burn injuries by using the correct utensils and don’t let children play too closely to the hot barbecue. Lastly, please make sure that all food is cooked through properly to avoid any food poisoning incidents.
· If you’re taking advantage of the sunshine and are going out for a walk or hike in the countryside, please make sure you wear the appropriate footwear to avoid any slips or trips.
· If you’re planning on hitting the road for a trip away, make sure you’re prepared for your journey, take food and drinks and remember to break the journey up. If driving in residential areas, please watch out for ice cream vans and any children that may be distracted around them.
· We would also ask bikers to be careful and wear appropriate safety clothing. Equally we ask car drivers to look out for bikers, as the number of these on the road will be significantly higher when the weather is good.