It's 'Mad Friday' and ambulance service issues plea to think before you dial 999

Please think before you dial 999
Please think before you dial 999
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In recent months the ambulance service has received calls for a banged knee, a hurt ankle and a lump on a bottom. They are now issuing a plea for people to think before they dial 999.

North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is calling on the region’s party-goers to drink responsibly whilst enjoying themselves during the festive season, and to think before they dial 999, so that paramedics are able to deal with life threatening incidents.

This Friday (16 December) and the Friday before Christmas – ‘Mad Friday’ as it’s traditionally known – the Service is expecting a spike in emergency calls, as people get into the festive spirit and the Christmas party season gets well underway.

Emergency medical dispatchers, who answer emergency 999 calls to the ambulance service, answer almost 4,000 calls every day and ‘Mad Friday’ is expected to present them with further challenges which could be prevented if people were to take sensible precautions.

Recent examples of 999 calls include:

- A call was made by a patient who had banged their knee. At the same time, an ambulance crew rushed to a patient gasping for breath.

- A call was made by a person who’d noticed a lump on his bottom. One minute later, NWAS were called to a male who was found unresponsive on the floor.

- A call was made by a male who had hurt their ankle the day before. Shortly after, a call came in for a patient with difficulty breathing.

- A call was received from a patient who had injured their ankle playing football. At the same time, NWAS was also called to a one year old baby suffering breathing difficulties due to an allergic reaction.

Ambulances were not sent to the first set of calls, however they did hold up the line for serious emergencies where time can mean the difference between life and death.

NWAS Director of Operations, Ged Blezard said: “The Service is incredibly busy and we don’t have spare paramedics and ambulances to deal with the extra calls which occasions such as ‘Mad Friday’ present us with. This means that we really need people to take some responsibility for their own safety during this busy period.

“In genuine life-threatening emergencies, time matters. If people stop and think about their actions and try not to have one too many during the festive period, they can help us to get to the vulnerable and very poorly people that really need us – it could be on of their relatives relying on us.

“Come the morning after, it is also important to remember hangovers, headaches and feeling under the weather after a night out can generally be treated in your own home using medicine from your local pharmacist and getting plenty of rest and fluid.”