With warm sunny weather expected over Easter, West Midlands Ambulance Service have issued some guidelines over how to enjoy the long weekend safely.
Statistics show that demand for the emergency services rises by up to 15% during ban holidays, and with the high temperatures predicted to last into next week this figure is expected to rise, placing record pressure on the ambulance service.
Regional Head of Specialist Operations, Steve Wheaton, said: “With many people having time off, good weather and some fantastic facilities in the West Midlands, it would be great to see everyone out having fun.
“However, we want to ensure that that fun doesn’t turn to tragedy. For example, in the past we have seen people enjoying a drink by the side of a river or canal, getting drunk and then falling in. Thankfully, in most cases they are saved, but this has not always been the case.
“We have also seen people calling 999 with severe cases of sunburn and dehydration. Many of the calls we will receive are totally preventable.
“The NHS has a wide variety of alternatives to either dialling 999 or going to A&E and we would urge people to consider using these services. They include advice from pharmacists, NHS Direct (on-line or over the phone), minor injuries units and GPs out of hours services.
“Many people will be out and about socialising which can lead to more people becoming ill or injured during the holiday; we usually see a rise in alcohol-fuelled incidents which can leads to injuries from falling over and fights. Unfortunately, our staff often feel the effects of that through abusive and violent patients. We will use the full weight of the law to deal with anyone who abuses or attacks our staff.
“Please enjoy the Easter weekend and the other upcoming bank holidays. All we ask is that you take care and if you do injure yourself, think carefully about whether you really need to call 999.”