South Coast In For A Scorcher This Weekend
12 July 2013, 06:50
Temperatures on the south coast could pass 30 degrees this weekend, and the emergency services are asking us to take care.
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust says last weekend saw demand increase by 33% across the 4 counties they serve, including Hampshire. Dehydration and sunburn were among the major issues they had to deal with.
Between 00.01 on 5 July and 23.59 on 7 July they took 5,336 emergency calls, of which 1,136 were potentially life-threatening. They're asking people to help those who really need help by only calling 999 in the event of a medical emergency; and if it's not, to call 111.
The Ambulance Service is urging people to take care during the continuing hot weather. You can read all their advice here.
They're also urging people to take extra care in and around open water this summer.
Mark Ainsworth, SCAS Operations Director for Hampshire, said:
"Waterways are a popular destination for people during the summer months, which can make them dangerous places for those who take risks. Traditionally ambulance service call outs to open water rescues increase at this time of year as people attempt to cool off and then get into difficulty.
"It may be very appealing to jump into the water to cool off on a hot summer's day but people need to be aware of how dangerous it really is. Water can look calm on the surface but contain unseen debris and, rivers in particular, can have treacherous undercurrents.
"Although it is banned, people are also often tempted to swim in reservoirs without realising that there is automatic equipment located under the surface which can operate without warning and cause dangerous hidden currents.
"Furthermore, the temperature of deep water is much colder than people would expect and, even on a hot summer's day, rarely gets above freezing. This is cold enough to take your breath away, which is the body's natural reaction and cannot be controlled, possibly leading to panic and drowning. Cold can also make your arms and legs numb which means you can't control them to swim and can also lead to hypothermia - a serious reduction in body temperature - which can cause heart failure.
"The message is simple; enjoy the summer, respect the sun, stay out of open water and stay safe!"
The Met Office has also issued a Heat Health Alert for the south coast - which warns of dangers for the very young and very old.
Meanwhile, Hampshire Police are advising drivers to be prepared if they're caught out in the sun.
Last weekend saw the A31 at a standstill from 4pm on Sunday to 4am on Monday after a large number of breakdowns at the roadside.
Police are warning drivers to carry plenty of bottled water in their vehicles in case they find themselves stranded while waiting for breakdown recovery, as well as sunscreen and other sun protection.
Sergeant Darren Ord, from Hampshire Constabulary's Roads Policing Unit, said:
"Our advice when you break down is to not wait in your car but to wait for recovery from a safe distance. In this heat that leaves stranded motorists at risk of serious sunburn, dehydration and sunstroke so we'd advise everyone to make sure they're prepared before setting off on their journey.
"In this weather cars can also be more at risk of overheating so the risk of breaking down is greater.
"Everyone should be checking their vehicle's oil and water before setting off and ensure they know their roadside recovery numbers, should they break down. Don't get caught out."
The recent good weather has also seen an increase in motorcyclists and cyclists on Hampshire and the Isle of Wight's roads. Police say drivers should 'think bike' when they're out and about and allow cyclists a wide berth when over taking. Equally, despite the heat, motorcyclists should ensure they're appropriately dressed in protective clothing when out on the roads.
"If you come off your bike, jeans will protect you for about 0.6 seconds. Proper 1.4mm leathers will protect you from heavy abrasion against the asphalt for 5.8 seconds," said Sgt Ord. "If you're wearing shorts and flip flops you're looking at life threatening - or certainly life-changing injury. Please don't take that risk.
"We've seen quite a few motorcyclists out on the roads with illegal visors too. Tinted visors are fine and can help with glare but they shouldn't be too dark. For those without eye protection, make sure you have a decent pair of sunglasses so not to get caught out by late afternoon sun.
"It's fair to say that most of the advice we've been giving is common sense, but we're still seeing people getting into difficulty by not thinking ahead. We just want everyone to have a good summer for however long this weather lasts."