FIRE chiefs have pleaded with motorists across Burton ‘to think before they park’ or potentially they could be putting lives at risk.
Crews from the Moor Street fire station have reported severe problems getting fire engines down several streets across the town and are now urging people to make sure they do not park inconsiderately.
Major issues have been reported in Goodman Street, Oak Street, Thornley Street, Balfour Street, Stafford Street, Hunter Street and Gordon Street in the past few months.
Rebecca Gill, prevent manager for the east of the county for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It is absolutely critical that all emergency service vehicles can drive along the county’s roads – it can literally mean the difference between life and death.
“Fire engines need a four metre gap to travel safely and comfortably so I would strongly urge motorists to think carefully about where they park.
“It is vital that drivers don’t park on street corners or parallel to another vehicle on the opposite side of the road.
“By taking the time to consider potential difficulties, you can avoid being the reason for delaying a fire engine travelling to an emergency.”
Drivers are also being warned to avoid parking near fire hydrants, which causes problems when crews are trying to get to water supplies during major incidents.
In an effort to combat the problem, firefighters can leave a postcard on the windscreens of any vehicles they come across which are parked inconsiderately.
The postcards bear the message ‘Think before you park: The extra time taken to reach an incident can cost lives! It could be your property we are trying to reach’.
A spokesman for the service said: “The problems we often find are that emergency appliances cannot get down streets because of the way in which people have parked.
“This not only affects firefighters as they are driving around carrying out community safety work, crucially it means they could be delayed in reaching an emergency situation.
“If people took a second to think about it, they wouldn’t want to be the reason for delaying a fire engine in an emergency.”
PCSOs in the areas highlighted are also keeping a close eye on the situation.