Statement on the heatwave – Gold Commander Peter Rhodes

Gold Commander Peter Rhodes has a message for Londoners:

“All our staff and volunteers are very busy caring for Londoners. We took more than 6,600 calls yesterday (18 July) – receiving around 400 calls an hour at our busiest times.*

“We are seeing an increase in the number of patients experiencing heat exposure, breathing difficulties, dizziness and fainting so it is very important for people to continue to take care in this extreme heat.

“Please stay out of the sun and drink plenty of water. If you have to go out, wear sun screen, carry water with you and try to stick to the shade.

“With temperatures hitting record highs today and staying high during the night, please do check in on vulnerable friends and family including the elderly and isolated.

“To keep cool at home, close windows and curtains during the day and open them when the outside temperature is lower to let cooler air circulate.

“Sustained demand on our 999 and 111 services as a result of the heatwave, and with hot weather set to continue, we are currently at Level 4 of our Resource Escalation Action Plan (REAP) – which is the highest level and represents ‘extreme pressure’.

“This move allows us to allocate even more staff on the road and in our control rooms and to reprioritise our operational efforts to ensure we provide the best care possible to Londoners.

“Finally I would like to thank our staff and volunteers for their dedication and commitment to their patients during these extremely challenging conditions.

“My thanks also to the public who are heeding our advice about staying safe in the heat. Please continue to help us by only calling 999 in the event of a life-threatening emergency.”

*Before the pandemic, our busiest days – New Year’s Eve for example – would see call numbers reach around 5,500

Peter Rhodes Deputy Director – Ambulance Operations (Gold Commander during the heatwave, he is leading our operations and responsible for service delivery.)

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