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Fire crews hit by parking blackspots

PUBLISHED: 14:03 26 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:29 03 July 2010

Stuck: A fire engine struggles to manoeuvre along a street lined with parked cars.

Stuck: A fire engine struggles to manoeuvre along a street lined with parked cars.

WHEN the emergency call comes in every second counts for fire crews racing against the clock to save lives.

But often vital time is lost by fire engines having to crawl along roads lined with badly parked cars.

WHEN the emergency call comes in every second counts for fire crews racing against the clock to save lives.

But often vital time is lost by fire engines having to crawl along roads lined with badly parked cars.

Just a few inches can make a difference with an out-turned wheel or wing mirror impeding a fire engines progress. Crew members often have to get out of vehicles to direct the driver down along narrow residential streets.

Local risk manager at Great Yarmouth fire station, Dean Howes said: “There are lots of smaller roads in town and it often only needs one vehicle to be badly parked and we have a problem.

“Some of the most difficult places are King Street, a number of areas in Southtown and the smaller roads in Newtown.

“Large vehicles like fire engines take up more road space and drivers need to be aware of the requirements of the emergency services.

Recently in Baliol Road, Gorleston, fire engines were unable to enter the road at all due to an illegally parked car. He said: “The crews had get out and run up the street but luckily on that occasion it proved to be a false alarm. Had it been a fire it would have increased the potential for loss of life or injury.”

Fire engines are 2.5m wide and 8.5m and crews have to decide on the best route using advanced satellite navigation systems and local knowledge of parking blackspots.

The fire station has two full time standard fire engines one retained appliance an emergency tender used for major road traffic incidents and a hydraulic platform.

“We should be able to get down all the roads if motorists park responsibly, the difference between being difficult and impossible can literally be a matter of inches,” added Dean. “I am not advocating that drivers' park on pavements that would just move the problem, but want people to consider emergency vehicles and take more care parking.

“If the way is blocked by a poorly parked vehicle crews will have to run the rest of the way and the equipment like hose reel jets may have to be deployed from there. The emergency services do a demanding job we are just asking that it is not made any more difficult than necessary.”

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