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Take care and be prepared during cold spell

26 February 2018

ambulance in snowWith snow and freezing temperatures forecast for the days ahead, South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) is reminding people to take extra care and be prepared.

By taking just a few precautionary steps to keep themselves, their family and friends safe, people can help lessen the impact the cold weather has on the ambulance service and the wider NHS.

The service is also planning ahead itself to ensure the impact of forecast snow showers are kept to a minimum. Additional plans are in place to respond to adverse weather if needed including extra 4x4 vehicles on standby if required. The Trust is keeping a close eye on weather forecasts to ensure the impact any adverse weather has is kept to a minimum.

SECAmb Resillience and Specialist Operations Manager, Chris Stamp said: “We have plans in place to help us manage any adverse weather and we’re asking for the public’s support by everyone taking a moment to ensure they are also well prepared.

“Wearing appropriate shoes and clothing are important as we’re likely to see an increase in slips and falls. We’d also urge people to avoid all but essential road travel if the weather is particularly bad. We’re also asking for people to keep an eye out for vulnerable family, friends and neighbours who are likely to find the colder spell particularly difficult.”

SECAmb is urging everyone to follow the check list below.

SECAmb winter check list

·         Wear appropriate shoes when outside especially during icy weather. We typically see an increase to slips and falls during colder spells

·         Plan ahead and check local weather forecasts and road conditions in your area.

  • Ensuring that your vehicle is suitably stocked; consider keeping the following in your car during bad weather:
    • Shovel
    • Ice scraper & de-icer and extra screen wash
    • Torch and batteries
    • Snacks
    • A warm winter coat, scarf, hat, gloves and warm clothes
    • Sturdy footwear
    • A flask of hot drink


·         Look out for any vulnerable friends and neighbours – what could you do to help them?

·         Wear bright colours at night. Can you be clearly seen as a pedestrian or cyclist? If walking at dusk or at night use a torch

·         Heat homes to at least 18C (65F). You might prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer

·         Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights – breathing cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest infections. If outside in the cold, cover your nose and mouth – especially if you have a long-term health condition which might be exacerbated by the cold air

·         Keep active when you're indoors. Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so

·         When was the last time your vehicle was serviced? If your car is safer, so are you

·         Wear several layers of light clothes. They trap warm air better than one bulky layer

·         999 should only be dialled in the event of a life-threatening or serious emergency

·         People who are not facing a serious emergency should make alternative arrangements such as dialling NHS 111 or seeking alternative advice from a GP or pharmacist so we can focus on those who need us most


For further information on how to protect yourself and others this winter please click on the following link:

When to call 999:

If you think a patient is suffering from one of the following you must dial 999 for an ambulance:

  • heart attack (e.g. chest pain for more than 15 minutes)
  • sudden unexplained shortness of breath
  • heavy bleeding
  • unconsciousness (even if the patient has regained consciousness)
  • traumatic back/spinal/neck pain

You should also call for an ambulance if: 

  • you think the patient's illness or injury is life-threatening
  • you think the illness or injury may become worse, or even life-threatening on the way to the hospital
  • moving the patient/s without skilled people could cause further injury
  • the patient needs the skills or equipment of the ambulance service and its personnel

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