AMBULANCE chiefs are urging the public to stay safe during the hot and sunny weather.

West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust is bracing itself for another challenging weekend with further heat wave alerts issued for Friday (July 18) and the potential for heavy rain and thunder storms on Saturday (July 19).

The service generally reports a rise in 999 calls from patients with breathing difficulties and chest pains when temperatures rise so Trust bosses are reminding people to ensure they only call for an ambulance in an emergency.

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.”

To stay safe during the sunny weather - people are advised to apply plenty of sun cream, wear a hat and light, loose fitting cotton clothes; avoid being out during the hottest hours of the day – 11am to 3pm; drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated (preferably water rather than caffeine based or alcoholic drinks which are dehydrating).

Members of the public are also urged to only swim in supervised swimming pools – not rivers and lakes; ensure barbecues are lit safely and in the correct manner to avoid burn injuries and make sure food is cooked properly to avoid food poisoning incidents. Adults are also advised not to let children play too closely to hot barbecues and to use correct cooking utensils to avoid burns.

Those going for walks in the countryside are advised to wear appropriate footwear to avoids slips and trips; and people planning a road trip are encouraged to take food and drinks on long journeys and to look out for the increased number of bikers on the roads during sunny weather.