Warwickshire’s Fire and Rescue service is calling on drivers in Rugby to be more considerate, after recent instances of bad parking prevented crews from quickly reaching emergency situations.
In the last 2 years, firefighters have been unable to get as close as they could to an incident on 39 separate occasions, which has prompted them to launch a new ‘Park it Right’ campaign.
In a bid to highlight the potential dangers drivers cause when they double park or obstruct tight corners, crews are encouraging residents to ask themselves the question - would a fire engine be able to drive down your road and get to your house quickly in an emergency?
The campaign warns that badly parked cars not only risk other people’s lives in an emergency, but appliances have the right to remove vehicles if it means getting to the fire more quickly.
The vehicle response time could also mean the difference between crews attending a fatality or saving a life.
Rugby Fire Officer, John Gregory said: “I was at the scene of an incident recently where crews were called to a house fire.
“Unfortunately due to inappropriate parking, the fire appliance was unable to manoeuvre around certain vehicles on the road and firefighters were severely delayed in getting to the incident.
“This is clearly unacceptable and I want people to understand that they have a responsibility to ensure that we can gain access on the street they park in.”
John continued: “Crews have found that driving along certain roads across the county, particularly in Rugby, Nuneaton, Warwick and Stratford areas is becoming a hindrance to our jobs.
“Every second counts when someone needs our help and spending additional minutes trying to drive around other cars could ultimately have drastic consequences. It’s crucial to remember if the fire engine can’t pass through, we can’t get to you”.
Warwickshire County Councillor John Horner, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said: “This is a very important message which aims to raise awareness of the ongoing parking issue across the county. People forget that whilst fire engines are more compact than they used to be, they are still quite wide, which means that they will struggle to drive down certain roads if people have not parked appropriately.”
“Little actions like parking close to the curb and straightening your wheels can make a big difference”.
Roland Bayley, Station Commander at Rugby Fire Station added: “We have leafleted the most congested streets in those areas most affected but this only has a small impact for a short period of time and is a very time consuming task. The only option we have left is to educate the public to be mindful of their parking habits.
“We will be sharing updates on our social media pages using the hashtag #ParkItRight and encourage the public to spread the word. We have also created a ‘Five Steps to Park it Right‘ guide which should make people more aware of how simple it is to park it right and save a life.
“Just remember, we could be trying to get to your home or to your friends and family in an emergency, so please don’t stop us doing our very important job.”
To take a look at the five step Park it Right guide, visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/parkitright
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