Soaring temperatures led to a surge in calls for West Midlands Ambulance Service over the weekend as staff dealt with more than 7,000 incidents during the course of three days.
Officials today said there had been a big increase in 999 calls across all parts of the region compared to the same time last year. And they said the service had dealt with approximately 2,500 incidents region-wide each day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The single busiest hour was recorded between 8pm and 9pm on Sunday when the service received a total of 213 emergency calls.
Officials said this was busier than an average hour on New Year's Eve, which is traditionally the time of year when there is most demand on the service.
While the main cause of the increase had been calls to people suffering chest pains and breathing difficulties there was also a rise in inappropriate calls.
Some were about alcohol-related incidents of assault and irresponsible behaviour.
Compared to last year there was a 17 per cent increase in calls in the Black Country on Friday and a near 29 per cent increase on the Saturday. A rise of just over 15 per cent was recorded in Staffordshire on Friday and an 11 per cent increase on Saturday.
West Mercia recorded a 20 per cent rise in calls on Friday and a 31 per cent increase on Saturday again compared to last year.
The service also had a 23 per cent rise in Birmingham for Friday and a near 12 per cent increase on Saturday.
Ambulance bosses said staff had "pulled out all the stops" to answer and attend calls as quickly as possible.