Careless parking costs lives say firefighters

PUBLISHED: 01:01 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:48 10 June 2010

emergency services and civic leaders launched a major new campaign in Topsham on Thursday, highlighting how careless parking could cost lives. The Fire Service, Devon and Cornwall Police, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Topsham's city councillo

emergency services and civic leaders launched a major new campaign in Topsham on Thursday, highlighting how careless parking could cost lives.The Fire Service, Devon and Cornwall Police, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Topsham's city councillors Rob Newby and Mary Evans and Devon County Council joined forces to highlight the dangers.The campaign follows from concerns raised during December's inaugural Pact (Police and Community Together) meeting in December.There, concerned residents listed their policing priorities; and top of the list was parking.Councillor Rob Newby, fresh from a meeting with county highways chiefs about the problem, said: "Topsham is a small-streeted town. Most drivers are considerate, but there are thoughtless minority who cause problems. "There are problems throughout Exeter. We have identified the problem and now working together to try and do something about it."All we are asking for is common sense. If you have a disabled badge and park in the loading bay opposite the fire station, or park for a few minutes at a cash point, just think for a moment."Only two weeks ago a double-parked delivery van opposite the Fire Station prevented fire crews from responding to an emergency call as quickly as they would have liked.They were responding to a fire in Clyst St George - but tail backs through Fore Street resulted in the street having to be cleared by police.Retained firefighters had to abandon their cars near the roundabout at the bottom of Holman Way and run through the town to the station.On arrival, they found that the fire appliance was unable to turn right out of the station because of the delivery vehicle parked opposite.Topsham fire station commander John Elliott said: "All we ask is a bit of thought. If you park, just think for a minute whether there is enough room for an ambulance or a fire appliance to get out or get access."Seconds count, and could make the difference to loss of property or a loss of life."PC Iain Jeffery said: "We are asking people who live in Topsham to be more responsible and courteous in their parking. It's about the community working together, and to prevent the problem before it happens. "Just two minutes' delay could cost lives."We have talked to the company who own the delivery van and they were very apologetic."Paramedic Anita Cawley agreed there is a problem added: "We have problems all the time in Topsham getting access to emergencies.""But there is little you can do but sit and wait and hope people move their vehicles."Leaflets will be delivered giving guidance including taking care to park close to the kerb, leave enough space for an emergency vehicle to pass, leave extra room near tight corners, and fold in wing mirrors.

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