Friday 12th July 2013 – 6.20pm – Murray MacGregor.
With the Met Office again predicting temperatures in the shade of around 27-29 degrees Celsius tomorrow (Saturday), West Midlands Ambulance Service is gearing up for another busy weekend.
Last weekend call rates were up by well over a third on what we would have expected for the time of year putting immense pressure on the 999 service.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Unfortunately, many of those calls were from conditions that could easily have been prevented.
“We received far too many 999 calls relating to sunburn, dehydration from not drinking enough water while out and about and heat stroke. All of these cases could have been avoided if some simple precautions had been taken.
“The hot weather adversely affects people with medical conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and allergies so we are urging patients to make sure they are prepared for the conditions by carrying inhalers and any other medication that they might need in an emergency.
“If we are dealing with avoidable calls, it means it could take us longer to get to people with genuine medical needs which, in some cases, could be life threatening.
“Our staff will all be working extremely hard to meet the demand but we’d ask people to think about how they can help us.
“It is vital that everyone takes their responsibility to look after themselves seriously. The heat affects everyone, but the young and elderly are particularly at risk. Please check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.
“We live in a wonderful area with stunning scenery and loads to do outside. Please enjoy it, but enjoy it safely so that you don’t become an ambulance statistic.”
Top tips for keeping well in the heat:
• Avoid being out in the sun at the hottest part of the day, usually between 11am and 3pm.
• Keep as cool as possible – wear a hat when sitting or working outside.
• Use sunscreen (factor 15+)
• Carry medicines for conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.
• Drink plenty of water. The normal recommended daily intake of fluid is 2.5 litres or eight glasses per day. In extreme heat experts recommend more.
• Try to avoid drinking alcohol – hot weather speeds up the effects and it can lead to dehydration. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water or fruit juice.
• Be very careful around open water; we have already had two tragedies in a week and one near miss.