Bad parking 'putting lives at risk', firefighters say
PUBLISHED: 13:22 21 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:22 21 August 2018
Inconsiderate parking is preventing firefighters from reaching emergencies or vital water supplies – putting lives at risk.
That is the claim of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, which has hit out at double parking, parking on junctions and people who leave their cars over fire hydrants.
Station manager Martyn Hare said: “When we are called to an emergency we want to get there as quickly as possible, but so often we are delayed because we can’t get our fire engine through roads blocked with cars.
“We have to either slow down to get through small gaps or turn around and find a different route.
“All this adds vital minutes to our journey, which can be the difference between life and death.
“People are also parking over fire hydrants which means our nearest supply of water is blocked and the next nearest hydrant could be several roads away.
“In the event of a fire, it is paramount that firefighters have access to water supplies quickly and there is no delay in getting our water supply established.
“We appreciate that people want to park outside their homes and aren’t doing it deliberately, but they have to help us help them.
“We are asking residents to consider whether their parking could be putting lives at risk”.
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has approximately 33,000 fire hydrants spread throughout the county, which are installed underground and visible by a yellow plastic indicator plate with a black H symbol.
They can also be identified by a yellow concrete marker.
Firefighters connect a standpipe to the hydrant to give them instant access to water in emergencies.
A dedicated team of hydrant examiners test and maintain each hydrant to ensure availability in case of an emergency.
They are currently out testing fire hydrants every day and reporting any that are damaged or inaccessible.
Under the Fire and Rescue Services Act Section 42 it is illegal to obstruct a fire hydrant. This includes parking over or too near to a fire hydrant.
Anyone found to be obstructing a fire hydrant can be convicted and be fined £500.