STAFFORDSHIRE is set to become hotter than Barbados in the current heat wave – and vulnerable residents are being advised to stay indoors.
West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) is bracing itself for a “challenging” weekend of weather extremes, with temperatures peaking on Friday and torrential rain and thunder predicted on Saturday. Hot weather is predicted to return again next week.
Ambulance bosses say the service is already under pressure from an unprecedented increase in 999 calls over the summer. They are urging residents to take extra care in this “exceptional” weather and to use restraint in calling 999 for an ambulance.
WMAS is expecting an increase in calls about serious breathing problems, which are known to increase with soaring temperatures.
WMAS medical director Dr Andrew Carson said: “A heat wave poses a real danger to those patients with emphysema, asthma and long-term breathing problems.
“The hot weather makes breathing difficult even for healthy individuals. That’s why we suggest people with respiratory illnesses should remain indoors as much as possible.
“It is vital that we get to these patients as quickly as possible and would therefore ask the public to assist us by only calling 999 in life threatening situations.”
Across the county hospitals and care homes have been put on alert with an increase in admissions expected and health and social services on standby.
The Met Office has placed the Midlands and South on a Level 2 Alert, predicting a 60 per cent chance of the heat wave conditions between 8am Friday and 8am Sunday, with temperatures are set to climb to about 89F (32C) by Friday.
The highest temperatures are expected on Friday night, with a humid night is to follow. Heavy thunderstorms on Saturday are likely to lower maximum temperatures but the weather will still be humid. Temperatures are expected to rise again next week.
The advice from WMAS is to drink plenty of fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol though as they can have a dehydrating effect.
People are advised to avoid being out and about between 11am and 3pm, the hottest time of the day.
And when out and about they should apply plenty of sun cream, wear a hat and light, loose fitting cotton clothes.