Issue 2, Winter 2019

Could a fire engine get through?


24 Aug 2019  | 

Inconsiderate parking by motorists is costing fire and rescue officers precious time as they respond to emergency incidents, which could mean the difference between life and death. This increasingly widespread issue has prompted Fire and Rescue services nationally to appeal to people to think before they park. 

Credit: Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service

If a vehicle is blocking a water mains hydrant, or simply doesn’t allow a fire appliance to get through, there is legislation in place to allow fire crews to force entry and move the car if they cannot easily locate the owner. In an emergency, the delays caused could potentially be critical.

Director of Response for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Dermot Hogan says: “Inconsiderate parking is something we are finding more frequently. This costs us precious time, which could mean the difference between life and death for someone.”

“Ask yourself, could a fire engine or other emergency vehicle get through the gap you have left?” he adds. “If you’re not sure, park somewhere else. It may be a little bit inconvenient, but it allows us to do our job and get where we need to go as quickly as possible, potentially saving someone’s life.”

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service added: “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 be compounded at night and during the school pick-up and drop-off times.”

“There have been times when fire engines haven't been able to get past at all. The average fire engine is 2.6 metres (nine feet) wide and 8 metres (26 feet) long - when you park your vehicle in a narrow street, always check you have left enough room for a fire engine to get past.”

Please be considerate and park with the emergency services in mind, particularly in narrow streets or other difficult driving areas. Visit your local Fire and Rescue Service’s website for life-saving information and advice on fire and water safety. Or take a look at which is run by serving and retired members of staff. This unofficial site, which is supported by donations and subscriptions, has a wealth of advice on fire safety and becoming a firefighter.