PARAMEDICS have issued advice to Ashbourne residents to help them stay safe and well over the winter.
As the threat of icy roads and festive drink-related problems increases, East Mildands Ambulance Service bosses have set out to minimise problems dealt with by ambulance staff during the festive season.
As part of the campaign, figures have been released showing the number of 999 calls made in December last year rose more than 13 per cent over calls made the previous month - which is put down to plunging temperatures and seasonal excesses.
Peter Ripley, the services operations director, said: "We prepare our vehicles for the worst winter can throw at us and plan for a seasonal spike in calls.
"We want people to take the same forward-planning approach in their homes and for their families.
"Many people will be busy preparing for Christmas yet forget to organise a repeat prescription or make time to see their doctor and that could lead to a crisis in their health.
"We want people to put their health first and think about what they need to do to stay well as their first priority."
Advice given by the service, which is also given at www.emas.nhs.uk, includes wrapping up warm when venturing outside, planning properly for long or difficult journeys by packing blankets and warm clothing and heating and insulating homes effectively.
Medical director Dr James Gray added: "We want people to respect the cold and be prepared for the impact it may have on their health. The cold has an adverse affect on many long-term conditions and strenuous activities such as shovelling snow in freezing temperatures can increase the risk of heart attack for those who are already vulnerable."