07 October 2016

Motorists are being asked to take care when parking, to ensure emergency service vehicles have room to manoeuvre along residential streets.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to urge people to make sure they leave access space for vehicles such as fire engines when they park their cars.

This reminder follows a recent fire which broke out in Leicester Close, Kettering, last month, when access to the street proved difficult due to the level of parking on either side of the road and close to the junction.

Fire engine being blocked by parked vehicles

Fire engines can measure as long as 8 metres and as wide as 2.5 metres, so it is vital that motorists take this into account when considering where to leave their vehicles. Fire engines require space to safely negotiate junctions as well as to drive along main thoroughfares.

Problems can be caused in areas where the width of the fire engine is too wide to fit between rows of parked cars and when corners cannot be negotiated due to vehicles parked too close to junctions.

Station Manager Mick Berry said: “The recent fire in Leicester Close is far from the only time the Fire Service has encountered issues with accessibility; particularly in older, terraced streets where parking can prove difficult for local people.

“Fire crews and other emergency services need to be able to respond rapidly, at any given time of day, to situations as and when they arise. Often the emergency situation could be a matter of life and death.

“I do acknowledge that parking can be more challenging in some areas more than others, but I would encourage the public to please consider, when they park their vehicle, if a major fire or other incident happened in this street, how easy would it be for crews to reach the people who need that help?”

The Highway Code currently states: “Do not stop or park anywhere you would prevent access for Emergency Services…and do not stop or park opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space.”

For more information about parking, visit the Highway code website.