Ambulance chiefs are asking people to be sensible when they’re out celebrating this Christmas.
East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EMAS) is gearing up to deal with the after-effects of revellers’ seasonal excesses and asking people to think carefully about their alcohol consumption.
The service is preparing for this Friday (December 21) to be its busiest night of 2012. Year after year the last Friday before Christmas puts the service under increased pressure as people have Christmas parties and finish work for the holidays. Too often this leads to people drinking irresponsibly and finding themselves in situations which jeopardise their health.
Typical scenarios which see people calling 999 are injuries sustained in drunken fights, falls and drink driving incidents. Last year the service received 2,339 calls on Friday, December 23. That’s 416 more calls compared to the number received on an average Friday night (1,923 calls on November 11, 2012). A similar spike is expected this year.
Pete Ripley, EMAS’ Operations Director, said: “Last year we saw a real spike in calls on the last Friday before Christmas.
“At this time of year alcohol has a huge impact on our service. Irresponsible drinking leads to people taking life-threatening risks. That can mean getting in a fight, drinking and driving or falling asleep outside after drinking heavily – which puts them at risk of hyperthermia.
“We want everyone to enjoy celebrating safely but that means thinking about the potential impact of your drinking. Know your limits and don’t take risks with your health.”
EMAS is already experiencing higher demand on its services than at any other time of the year. Colder temperatures can cause complications for people with existing conditions such as lung or heart disease and falls and road traffic accidents in icy conditions are common. Pete added: “By choosing to drink sensibly or encouraging your friends to pace themselves you can avoid becoming a victim to alcohol.
“You can also help safeguard our ability to respond to those in life-threatening medical situations who need our help desperately.
“We are experiencing unprecedented demand on our services and that is likely to continue until Christmas and into the New Year period.”