31 Jan 2009

Heatwave stretches emergency services

6:51 pm on 31 January 2009

Victoria's emergency services have been stretched to the limit as the state continues to steam through an unprecedented heatwave.

Ambulance Victoria responded to a record number of emergency calls on Friday with almost 1,500 calls in metropolitan Melbourne alone and almost 2,000 cases across the state.

Ambulance Victoria Operations manager Paul Holman said it had rostered on extra services to cope with the demand.

Life Saving Victoria has performed more than 40 rescues over the last three days as 230,000 Victorians flocked to the 40 patrolled beaches.

Problems rescuers faced included dealing with intoxicated beachgoers, lost children and minor injuries requiring first aid.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade have also experienced an increase in calls resulting in more than 385 call-outs up until midnight, including lift breakdowns, collisions and structure fires.

Health services have also planned for increased demand on their services by rostering additional staff or cancelling non-urgent services.