Cambs FRS: Firefighters urge residents to think before they park, can a fire engine get through?

Firefighters in Wisbech are urging residents and visitors to think before they park, to help tackle the ongoing problem of inconsiderate parking in and around the town.

Drivers are urged to take care when parking their vehicles so they do not prevent fire engines from attending potentially life-threatening emergencies.

There are some areas around Wisbech that are notorious for motorists parking down both sides of a narrow street and there have been times when fire engines haven't been able to get past at all. This of course can cause a significant delay in responding to emergencies where someone's life could be at risk and every second counts.

This is a growing problem due in part to increasing car ownership, reduced or unused resident parking areas, traffic calming schemes and thoughtless parking by some motorists. The problem can also be made worse at night, when most people are at home and during the school pick-up and drop-off times in term time.

Crew Commander Ady Strowger at Wisbech Fire Station commented: “Parking inconsiderately not only causes unnecessary obstructions and frustrations to other road users but it can also make it difficult for all emergency services to access certain areas when responding to 999 calls.

“Inconsiderate parking, leading to problems with access for our fire engines, is an issue in a number of roads in Wisbech. Our crews have historically found getting along roads in North Brink, Hill Street, Union Street, De Havilland Road, Milner Road, Clarence Road and the High Street a tight squeeze owing to a large number of cars double parked, parked on both sides of the road and sometimes also parked on double yellow lines.

“This can make it extremely hard and sometimes impossible for emergency vehicles to get through, which could cause a delay in a fire engine getting to someone in their time of need.

“It is imperative that when drivers park their cars they leave enough room for a fire engine to pass – a fire engine measures 2.6 metres (nine feet) wide and 8 metres (26 feet) long, so more room is needed than you might think, especially on tight corners.

“So please, make sure your car is parked sensibly to allow emergency vehicles to get through, or park in the many available car parks in the area.”

“Just remember, we could be trying to get to your home or to rescue you or your family another time.”