South East Coast Ambulance
Service (SECAmb) is asking people to carry out some final checks to
ensure they keep themselves and others as safe as possible this
With SECAmb, as ever, expecting a busy festive period, ambulance
staff and volunteers in the Trust’s 999 and NHS 111 Operations
Centres and out on the road, will be working hard throughout to
ensure patients receive the help they need as quickly as
But the public can also play their part by taking a moment to
prepare and carry out some simple checks and tasks such as ordering
any required repeat prescriptions, checking on vulnerable relatives
or friends and restocking medicine cabinet essentials.
Demand in December has already been high with the Trust handling
some 36,500 calls to 999 in the first two weeks (1-15
And in the nine days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day
last year SECAmb handled an average of close to 2,400 calls each
SECAmb Executive Director of Operations Joe Garcia said: “We
know we’ll always be busy throughout the Christmas period and we
plan ahead so that our resources meet this additional demand to the
best of our ability.
“I am confident that our staff and volunteers will, as ever, be
exceptional in the care they deliver and I’d urge people to help
them by taking a moment to prepare themselves. It might be
something as simple as checking on a vulnerable neighbour or
ensuring they or someone they help has ordered any repeat
“This forward planning can seem minor but the impact of everyone
doing this and reducing the demand on our service can be
“I’d also like to thank everyone in advance who is working or
volunteering for SECAmb at this busy time of year. I know they will
be doing everything they can to help people in their hour of need
while being away from their own friends and families at
SECAmb has produced a winter check list to help people prepare.
People are asked to see if there’s anything they still need to tick
SECAmb winter check list
• Check your home medicines cabinet – is everything in
date? Restock with essentials including cold remedies, pain
killers, indigestion tablets and diarrhoea and constipation
• Keep up to date with any repeat prescriptions you or your
family or friends need.
• If you or someone you look after is in an at-risk group –
don’t forget to book a flu vaccination.
• Look out for any vulnerable friends and neighbours – what
could you do to help them? Are there any hazards in their homes? Do
their slippers need replacing? We attend falls to older and
vulnerable people all year round.
• Wear appropriate shoes when outside, especially during icy
weather. We typically see an increase in slips and trips during
• When was the last time your vehicle was serviced? If your
car is safer, so are you.
• Carry some useful items in your vehicle such as a blanket
and a spade for colder and possible snowy weather.
• Wear bright coloured clothing at night. Can you be clearly
seen as a pedestrian or cyclist? If walking at dusk or at night use
• 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.
• Wear several layers of light clothes. They trap warm air
better than one bulky layer.
• 999 should only be dialed in the event of a life-threatening
or serious emergency.
• People who are not facing a serious emergency should make
alternative arrangements such as dialing 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: https://www.nhs.uk/staywell
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
• Sudden unexplained shortness of breath.
• Heavy bleeding.
• Unconsciousness (even if the patient has regained
• Traumatic back/spinal/neck pain.
You should also call for an ambulance if:
• You think the patient’s illness or injury is
• 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
• The patient needs the skills or equipment of the ambulance
service and its personnel.