Monday 28th October 2013 – 12.05pm – Murray MacGregor.
After all the fears of the overnight storm, it is easy to forget that the clocks went back over the weekend and today is the first day commuters will experience the darker evenings.
Dusk arriving ever earlier brings with it an increase in calls and a number of challenges for the ambulance service. However, the public can do their bit to help.
Are you visible?
We would urge people who are out and about in the dark to make sure that they are visible to other road users.
While most school children will be on their half term holiday, drivers need to be aware that there could be many more pedestrians out and about in the dark than previously.
Whether you are walking home from school in the dark or even out out walking the dog, have you got anything reflective on?
Equally, people riding bicycles should ensure that they have working bike lights – it is the law. Reflectors on your clothing and bike can only help. We would also strongly recommend that you wear a cycle helmet too.
Can we find you?
Are we able to find your house at night? It might sound like a simple question, but each year West Midlands Ambulance Service gets called to a large number of incidents where it is almost impossible for ambulance staff to find the property where the patient is, because they can’t identify the house from the road. The situation always gets worse with the longer hours of darkness.
Our crews regularly find house numbers and even road signs obscured by hedges that have overgrown over the summer or paint work that has faded.
In cases where every second counts, being able to find a property quickly really can make the difference between life and death. Spending a few moments making sure we can identify your house really could make a massive difference if the worst happens.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “This advice may sound like the nanny state, but our experience tells us that each year our crews are called out to incidents where both of these scenarios are a reality. It may sound like common sense, because it is.
“Please help us to help you and make sure that everyone stays safe.”