Poor parking in Portsmouth is putting ‘lives at risk’ firefighters warn

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FRUSTRATED firefighters have said people parking inconsiderately and blocking roads are ‘putting lives at risk’.

Crews from Southsea struggled to get to a number of jobs over the weekend due to motorists’ poor parking not leaving enough room for fire engines to pass.

During two separate occasions on Saturday, firefighters were delayed, prompting them to take to Twitter to urge drivers to be more considerate.

The first incident took place in Cleveland Road,  Southsea, at about 7pm. This was followed hours later, at 9.50pm, by a call-out to Bath Road, Southsea.

On both occasions a fire was reported in the kitchen.

But a spokesman for Southsea fire station said crews were held back while trying to get to the jobs, after having to negotiate their way through clogged streets.

Shocking parking left crews from Southsea struggling to tackle fires over the weekend.'Photo: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Shocking parking left crews from Southsea struggling to tackle fires over the weekend.'Photo: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

He said: ‘Bath Road was horrendous. The last 30 to 40 metres took as long as the whole journey to get there. 

‘People were parked inconsiderately, too far away from the curb. It was very frustrating.

‘Every second matters. If someone is trapped in there it could be life and death. 

‘It's that time-critical.’

The plea comes as Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service continues its on-going campaign to tackle motorists hindering emergency service vehicles with erratic driving or poor parking.

The #INeedMySpace campaign from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service comes after an increasing number of drivers have delayed fire engines getting to incidents.

These motorists are putting lives at risk by blocking off roads and even stopping on box junctions outside fire stations. 

However, it is not just parking that is the problem and firefighters say some drivers are not sure what to do when they hear the sirens blaring.

Some slam their brakes on immediately and risk causing an accident while others try to tailgate behind the vehicle which can cause a crash - particularly if more than one engine has been deployed.

Deputy chief fire officer Andy Bowers said: ‘The issue of motorists blocking the paths of emergency services vehicles is worse than ever before.

‘Some drivers are parking opposite one another making an entire road inaccessible while others are actually stopping by station exits, often in the hatched areas, and some are even leaving their cars on our grounds.

‘Please also remember that although you may only hear one siren, there may regularly be more than one emergency vehicle responding.

‘These issues are causing delays and when tackling a fire or cutting somebody out of a car this can be the difference between life and death.’

The service is now giving guidance for motorists in how best to help emergency vehicles get to incidents.

These include: remaining calm when emergency services vehicles approach, being alert to emergency vehicles and find safe places to pull in and to never speed up in an attempt to get out of the way.