With weather forecasters predicting that the high temperatures are set to continue, the region’s ambulance service is asking people to look after themselves and others to avoid needing to dial 999 for an ambulance.
Last weekend, the service received surprising volumes of 999 calls, especially on Saturday when 999 call handlers in their Emergency Operations Centre took 34% more 999 calls than the average Saturday. At the busiest point they received 230 calls in one hour and that equates to an average of four calls every minute!
David Williams, Acting Director of Operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said that during periods of high temperatures they do see a noticeable increase in ailments brought on by the warmer weather such as breathing difficulties, fainting and unconsciousness.
With such beautiful weather lots of people were understandably out and about and enjoying themselves but alongside our normal 999 demand and the increase in weather-related illnesses and injuries led to a significant rise in the number of calls that we had to deal with.
Having reviewed the figures from the weekend, Mr Williams explained that many of the calls could have been prevented which has prompted him to once again offer a few words of advice which may help people look after themselves to avoid becoming victims of the sunshine.
- Drink plenty of water, use sun cream, wear a hat and keep as cool as possible. Stay in the shade during the hottest part of the day (11am – 3pm).
- Remember, take extra care and look out for those who are more at risk from the heat than others – for example, older people, babies and young children, and people with any pre-existing medical problems that can affect their breathing.
- Don’t consume too much alcohol in the sunshine and remember to hydrate yourself with plenty of fluids.
- Contact your doctor, pharmacist or NHS 111 if you are worried about your health and only call 999 for an ambulance in a genuine emergency.
We know this advice is common sense but, by putting it to the forefront of people’s minds, we hope it will help to reduce the number of people who suffer any ill-effects from the hot weather and cut down the need for ambulance assistance.
As the hot weather brings genuine life-threatening issues for a number of people with long-term conditions, such as breathing difficulties for those with asthma, it is vital that we are able to deal with these calls quickly rather than responding to people with preventable illnesses or injuries.
As always, our staff will be working hard to get to patients who require an emergency medical response as quickly as possible but we do ask that people only call 999 for an ambulance in a medical emergency when it is obvious that someone has a life-threatening illness or injury.
The last thing we want to do is stop people enjoying the wonderful weather, but we must ask everyone to use common sense to avoid putting themselves and others at risk whilst leaving our valuable resources available to respond to those who need us most quickly.