HEREFORD and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is reminding people of the vital importance of parking safely.
Inconsiderate parking that blocks access for emergency services can cost the lives.
Road Safety Week 2022 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 own safety and the safety of others.
During the week, HWFRS is backing BRAKE’s Road Safety Week theme of ‘SAFE ROADS FOR ALL’, encouraging communities and professionals to come together and ‘shout out’ for everyone’s right to make safe and healthy journeys on safe roads.
The service urging people, as last year, to be ‘Road Safety Heroes’ by considering the needs of the blue light services when they park, remembering large vehicles – such as fire appliances – need extra space to get through and reach an emergency, especially in congested narrow streets.
The service attended nearly 12,000 (11,917) vehicle incidents of various types in the ten-year period between January 2012 and December 2021
These included 1,061 false alarms and 2,886 fires. More than half (6,944) involved a car, 2,461 involved multiple vehicles and 3,342 incidents required us to rescue trapped persons, while 2,614 involved leaking fuel.
Morning and evening rush hours were the most common times for incidents to occur, with Worcester, Redditch and Bromsgrove districts again seeing the highest number of incidents.
Sadly, there were 155 fatalities in these incidents, and 3,183 injuries
However, whether attending a vehicle incident, a fire or some other emergency, access is vital, as Station Commander Sara Hall, the HWFRS Road Safety lead, explains:
“We recognise that some of our streets weren’t designed for the number of cars we now have, but don’t forget that a fire engine is around one and a half normal car widths.
“We need to ask ourselves – ‘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 – this could endanger your life and the lives of your families, friends and neighbours.
“The positioning of parked cars could make the difference between the emergency services being able to save a life.”
So when parking, please:
- park close to the kerb
- park straight with wheels straight
- fold in wing mirrors
- in narrow streets, only park on one side of the road (where possible)
- obey the Highway Code and road markings such as yellow lines and box junctions
- do not park too close to corners or traffic calming measures
- leave extra room at tight junctions
- remember every second counts when someone needs our help
- ask yourself: ‘Could I get through this space?’ If not, a fire engine probably couldn’t either