EMERGENCY services are gearing up for a busy night ahead of England’s crunch World Cup semi-final match with Croatia tonight.
Police have reported an increase in demand across Hampshire during the World Cup period - with it expected to continue - especially if England make it to the final.
South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) is also bracing itself for an unusually busy night - with additional staff called in for the occasion.
Assistant director of operations, Paul Jefferies, said: ‘Due to the heatwave and England’s quarter-final game on Saturday we saw a 32 per cent increase in emergency 999 calls at the weekend.
‘Additional plans have been put in place so we are prepared for a similar expected increase. It is important that people understand that we will always prioritise our staff and resources to the most seriously ill or injured patients.
‘People with less serious emergencies may experience some delays over and above these usual response times as a result.’
Police, meanwhile, say a combination of good weather, school exams finishing, the football and other national events mean demand is a lot higher than normal - likely to result in longer waiting times when trying to call following the match.
If it is not urgent cops are recommending calling back when it is not so busy.
Superintendent Paul Bartolomeo, said: ‘We know emotions can run high during these periods and we really want everyone to be able to enjoy themselves safely.
‘We will be working during this time to help keep everyone safe. Please don’t put yourself or anyone else at risk – we don’t want celebrations resulting in people getting hurt or arrested. Please act responsibly, look out for each other and only call 999 in a genuine emergency.’
SCAS is urging people to only call 999 if it concerns a life-threatening or serious emergency and to call 111 for anything else.