Royal Welsh Show: Major heatstroke alert declared
- 25 July 2012
- From the section Mid Wales
Medical teams at the Royal Welsh Show have declared a major heatstroke incident after being overwhelmed by people needing help.
On Monday St John Cymru-Wales medical centre staff dealt with 190 cases, while on Tuesday there were 202, of which about 120 were heat-related.
Such was the demand on Tuesday for space that St John Ambulance treated patients in the centre's kitchen.
An inflatable tent is going up providing 12 extra spaces.
St John warned people to ensure they are prepared for the weather before entering the ground.
David Gardner, St John commissioner for mid Wales, said 50 first aiders and six ambulances were providing round-the-clock cover.
"The number of people we have treated has reached record levels this year, with a significant rise in heat-related incidents," he said.
"We have now set up an additional shelter to treat those with minor injuries to free up beds in the main treatment centre.
"We have also activated our serious incident procedures due to the volume of patients, expanding our treatment areas to enable a better flow of patients."
A total of 392 patients were treated on the first two days. Last year there were only 480 for the entire week.
One of the hottest days of the year so far drew a record crowd to the show on Tuesday, and temperatures are high again on Wednesday.
Hazel Cook, the St John assistant commissioner for Montgomeryshire, said many patients with heatstroke had to be put on drips on Tuesday, and were treated at the medical centre for about two hours each.
St John has about 60 volunteers on duty at the event in Llanelwedd, Powys, while the Red Cross has about 30.
Ms Cook said it was classified as a serious incident because they ran out of space at the centre, which has room for five patients.
She said: "We're putting up the inflatable tent to give us more capacity to treat patients because many of them have to stay with us for a length of time.
"We have five spaces in the medical centre, so we had to treat people in a nearby marquee and the centre's kitchen yesterday.
"We started yesterday with people with blisters, but soon we were treating people who were unconscious through heatstroke."
Ms Cook said people suffering from strokes, heart attacks and broken bones were also treated on Tuesday, but those injuries were common during show week.
She advised visitors to drink plenty of water, to wear hats and to use sun cream.
"Look after the older people and babies in your group as well," she added.
She said anyone drinking alcohol should ensure they also drink water or soft drinks.
She said many people had come to the show with only wet weather gear and sweaters and had been caught out by the heatwave.