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‘The difference between life and death’ - Plea to park sensibly after drivers obstruct emergency vehicles

PUBLISHED: 13:01 19 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:01 19 June 2020

Assistant chief fire officer, Scott Norman, at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Assistant chief fire officer, Scott Norman, at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Drivers have urged to park sensibly as obstructing emergency vehicles “could be the difference between life and death.”

It comes after a crew from Wroxham on a training exercise was forced off the road due to parked cars near Horstead Mill this week.

The plea has been made by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service who have warned that valuable seconds are added on to response times if their vehicles are forced to move or find an alternative route.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue service warned residential streets, particularly in the north of Norwich, and beauty spots, such as access roads to Thetford Forest, were among the most problematic areas.

Scott Norman, assistant chief fire officer at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Parked cars on narrow roads can create a real problem for emergency services when responding to incidents. Every second matters on emergency calls and if we have to get vehicles moved or find alternative routes this adds valuable seconds on to our response times and could be the difference between life and death.

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“With more people being at home due to the current pandemic, we are asking people to think about where they leave their cars on residential streets – ensuring there is enough room for emergency vehicles to pass.”

Mr Norman added: “We would also remind people visiting beauty spots such as riverside locations, forests and beaches, that any emergency routes should be kept clear and vehicles should be parked considerately on roads.

“Our Wroxham crew had an issue passing parked cars on a road near Horstead Mill this week, thankfully this was only a training exercise but it has again highlighted the wider issue.”

Meanwhile, people are also being urged to not light bonfires after fire fighters tackled 66 out of control blazes last month.

Greg Preston, head of prevention and protection at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Bonfires are just very disruptive and use up a lot of resources. The unnecessary responses to bonfires could be a risk not just to crews but the community.”

Instead, people are being urged to look at alternative methods to dispose of rubbish including recycling centres, of which 16 have reopened in Norfolk during lockdown.


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