Birmingham’s ongoing heatwave is causing havoc for ambulance staff who are being swamped with calls from the public.
West Midlands Ambulance Service has seen call numbers leap by nearly a quarter as people suffer from the sweltering temperatures, and bosses are pleading with the public to think twice before picking up the phone.
The Met Office has now upgraded its Heat Wave Plan Alert to Level 3 after advice from the Department of Health, which means that high temperatures have been reached and sustained in one or more regions.
On Wednesday, the service dealt with 2,900 calls. About 600 more than normally experienced at this time of year and a 23 per cent rise on the same time last year.
Most of the increase was from Birmingham and the Black Country. there were 1,545 calls in the two areas, 495 from Staffordshire, 382 in Coventry and Warwickshire and 491 from Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Members of the public are asked to consider whether or not their call is of an urgent nature that requires an immediate medical response before dialing 999.
“Please only call the ambulance service in genuine emergencies and life threatening situations.
“The service is experiencing a rise in calls from people who have heat related conditions such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, sunburn, and dehydration as well as alcohol related injuries and illness, all of which can be avoided by being sensible and following guidelines to stay safe.
“We are appealing to members of the public to take simple steps and follow practical advice to cope with the current high temperatures.
“Any measures the public can take to avoid becoming a victim in the heatwave will ultimately help us during this period so that we are able to continue to provide patient care to those with life threatening and serious conditions.”
Dr Adrian Noon, medical adviser for West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “Most of the information to staying safe in the sun is common sense.
“During a period of prolonged high temperatures it’s important to look after those who are vulnerable, similar to when we experienced the prolonged winter weather period.
“Consider checking on elderly or vulnerable neighbours and keep in contact with relatives to make sure they are well supplied with cold drinks, sun block and are keeping cool.”
Temperatures are expected to stay high today and tomorrow although heavy rain is expected, with lighter showers over the weekend.