Drivers potentially jeopardising emergency responses urged to stop parking outside Saffron Walden Fire Station
PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:11 07 June 2017
Crews at Saffron Walden Fire Station are urging drivers to stop parking their cars in front of the building because it makes it "almost impossible" to attend emergencies.
In the last two weeks alone, the station, in Hill Street, has seen several incidences of drivers ignoring the ‘keep clear’ warning on the road, ‘no parking’ wall sign, and double yellow lines which run past the entrance.
One van almost blocked the entire gateway – potentially endangering someone’s life - and staff have taken to social media to raise awareness of the problem.
The crews said: “Please be considerate when parking your cars. Twice recently, vehicles have parked across the fire station entrance making it almost impossible for us to attend fire calls.
“Vehicles blocking us in will be reported to the police.”
Essex County Fire and Rescue says the problem is county-wide but also applies to drivers parking their cars in streets which fire engines might find it difficult to get through.
Assistant Divisional Officer (ADO), Kevin Haywood, who is also station manager at Saffron Walden, said: “We don’t believe that anyone wants to delay us when we are called to an incident, but people often don’t think about how their parking affects our response.
“They might only plan to be parked somewhere for a few minutes, but that few minutes could make all the difference.”
In May, crews in Saffron Walden helped emergency services attend to a car crash in Ickleton and another in Great Chesterford – both with casualties.
They were also at the scene of a cooker explosion on May 6 and worked to extinguish a car alight on the M11 at the end of April.
Staff are also asking taxis and delivery drivers to avoid parking in the station yard.
“By keeping the station yard completely free it will guarantee space for our on-call firefighters to park when they are called out from home or work to attend emergencies,” ADO Haywood added.
“Many local people are not aware the station is crewed by fellow community members who drop everything at a moment’s notice to help, protect and save the lives of their neighbours.
“Our overall message to the public is to think about where and how you park, and how your actions could potentially put people’s lives at risk.”