A third of 999 calls alcohol related

The usual Bank Holiday alcohol fuelled carnage failed to materialise in Plymouth mainly due to the weather.

Less people went out onto the streets for all day drinking sessions.

I teamed up with one ambulance crew to see the affect it would have.

I arrived on shift at seven in the evening where I was given a briefing and shown the insides of an ambulance by Paramedic Andrew Webber:

Ambulance inside

It didn't take too long before our first shout of the night, followed by our first alcohol caused emergency with a twist.

Dog protects owner

A few choice words to the owner soon had him and the dog Max in the back of the ambulance with the man being treated for a cut ear.

A third of the way through the shift and a chance to catch-up with paramedic Andrew and his assistant for the evening Clinical support officer Neil Jago:

Ambulance crew talk about drink

It's estimated it costs a thousand pounds for a 999 call-out plus taking the patients to hospital, so being able to spend an extra five minutes with the patient is far better than transporting them to an overflowing Accident & Emergency department.

By now it was nearly half-way through the 12-hour shift and our first 'incident' of the evening - details were patchy as we rushed to the scene at the Volks Fest at Newnham Park.

A man had slipped down a bank and into the water - initial reports said he was missing, and there were two other potential casualties. All the emergency services were mobilised including the force helicopter which had heat seeking devices to spot bodies.

A look inside an ambulance

On arrival and after a few tense minutes the police and fire were stood down - there was one casualty who had a cut to his head and was feeling the effects of the cold.

On the way back to base another shout this time to Ivybridge where we spent an hour helping police at an incident.

By now the time was fast appraoching three o'clock still time to be rushing towards the scene before being stood down as other ambulances had got there first. Getting to scenes 8 minutes from the 999 call is paramount for the crews to meet government targets. To do this there are various despatch points where crews go and wait for calls; located at Milehouse, Plympton, Ivybridge and Millbay.

Just one more shout before the end of the evening for me and a man who had fallen into a diabetic coma, but with the help of Andrew and Neil plus Lucozade and toast he was soon back to normal levels and didn't need a trip to hospital.

So not many alcohol fuelled call-outs - about a third - but no matter what the call or what the situation the guys and girls from the South Western Ambulance service will be there.

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