Firefighters are warning drivers in Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay to stop risking lives and parking inconsiderately outside schools
Improve parking before someone dies - that is the stark warning firefighters will be issuing at schools across the district.
Crews regularly face obstacles in the roads surrounding schools while responding to emergencies, putting lives at risk.
A fire engine negotiates its way through parked cars in Whitstable
During the school-run, these streets are often turned into no-go zones for fire engines and ambulances because cars are left double-parked, at junctions or too far from the kerb.
Firefighters will be visiting Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay primary schools over the next few weeks to raise awareness of the problem and plead with parents to park responsibly.
Canterbury fire station manager Gary Stanford says: "Unfortunately, on an all too regular basis, fire engines have to crawl through gaps when they respond to incidents due to people’s poor parking, and it is particularly bad during the school-run.
“In some cases, crews have needed to find an alternative route because the quickest journey has been blocked.
"We are concerned that this could result in tragedy if the delay means they arrive too late to save someone from the deadly effects of smoke and fire."
He continues: "Fire engines are wide vehicles and need plenty of space to get to incidents safely without damaging vehicles.
"Imagine what it would be like if a blaze broke out in your home, but while your family was trapped upstairs, all you can see is a fire engine delayed further down the road because it can’t get past a badly parked car.
"We are therefore encouraging parents to think carefully before parking inconsiderately during the school-run as it could cost someone their life.”
Firefighters and police officers will be handing out leaflets describing a fictional event where a ten-year-old boy dies following a car crash just yards from the school gates, because emergency services have been delayed due to badly-parked cars.
Crews and community safety officers will visit Briary School in Herne Bay today, St Stephens in Canterbury on Thursday, Herne Bay Junior and Infants next Tuesday, and Pilgrims Way School in Canterbury next Thursday.
Then on Tuesday, January 21, they will be at Joy Lane School in Whitstable, followed by Wincheap School on Thursday, January 23, Reculver Church of England School on Tuesday, January 28 and Herne School on Thursday, January 30.
They will also drop-in at St Mary's School in Tankerton on Tuesday, February 4, and Swalecliffe School on Thursday, February 6.
Advice includes leaving room for fire engines, obeying all restrictions, parking away from corners and junctions and avoiding parking opposite other cars in narrow areas.
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