DRIVERS across Worcestershire are being urged to park sensibly so emergency services vehicles can get access to where they need to get to.
The plea – from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service – comes during BRAKE’s Road Safety Week which started on Monday and runs until Saturday, November 21.
Firefighters say access being blocked by inconsiderate parking could cost loved ones’ lives.
Road Safety Week 2021 is showcasing the organisations which work to make roads safer for everyone – from caring for people after a road traffic collision to designing safer roads.
It also enables everyone who uses roads to understand how they can take responsibility for their and others’ safety.
HWFRS is encouraging people to be ‘Road Safety Heroes’ by considering the needs of the blue light services when they park, remembering large vehicles – such as fire engines – need extra space to get through and reach an emergency, especially in congested narrow streets.
The service attended over 6,270 vehicle incidents of various types between April 2011 and March 2021 (some 30 more than the previous ten year period).
Over half of them involved a car and nearly 40 per cent multiple vehicles. Almost half of all incidents involved rescuing trapped people and over a third involved leaking fuel.
Morning and evening rush hours were the most common times for incidents and Worcester, Redditch and Bromsgrove saw the highest number of call-outs.
Whether a vehicle incident, a fire or other emergency, access is vital – every second counts when saving a life.
Station Commander Bob Sproat, the HWFRS Road Safety lead, said he understood some streets were not designed for large amounts of vehicles but urged people to remember a fire engine is around one-and-a-half car widths.
“Ask yourself – if I park here could a vehicle the size of mine get through? Because if not, then a fire appliance almost certainly can’t. Every second counts when someone needs the help of the fire service.
“Bad or careless parking can delay fire engines and emergency vehicles from reaching serious incidents in your area – that could endanger your life and the lives of your families, friends and neighbours.”
Positioning of parked cars can be the difference between the emergency services being able to save a life or not.
Motorists are urged to park close to the kerb with their wheels straight and wing mirrors folded in.
Parking in narrow streets should be on just one side and drivers should obey the Highway Code by not parking on yellow lines, box junctions, too close to corners or on traffic calming measures.
Extra room should be left at tight junctions.
Visit roadsafetyweek.org.uk for more about Road Safety Week.