Firefighters fear poor parking will put lives at stake

W31645H13''Worthing Fire Station Open Day 2013. Worthing  Mayor Bob Smytherman with Firefighter Gavin Ross ENGSUS00120130729094728
W31645H13''Worthing Fire Station Open Day 2013. Worthing Mayor Bob Smytherman with Firefighter Gavin Ross ENGSUS00120130729094728
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POORLY parked cars are causing delays to firefighters that could mean the difference between life and death.

Cars parked on double yellow lines and too near junctions have caused issues for crews at Worthing Fire Station in recent weeks.

An awareness campaign has been launched to educate motorists about the dangers of poor parking.

Firefighter Gavin Ross said: “It only needs a few breaths of smoke or fumes from burning plastic to overcome you, so a few vital minutes can make a real difference.

“The main message is to park carefully and think about what you are doing.”

A crew attended a kitchen fire in Orme Road, Worthing, last Tuesday but were delayed by cars restricting the turning into the road.

Another car, near Tesco, in Dominion Road, had to be moved by the owner before the fire engine could get past.

Mr Ross said: “We were initially delayed in Orme Road but having completed the job, the first fire engine tried to carry on down the road but couldn’t take the bend because a van was parked opposite. The van had to be moved.

“It’s very frustrating when it happens.”

Many of Worthing’s roads are old Victorian designs, which are already narrow.

The latest fire engines are larger than older models, too, in order to carry 1,800 litres of water and a range of equipment.

If a car is seen to be parked carelessly, fire crews will place a note on the windscreen prompting them to think about their actions.

Watch Commander Joe Bullingham and Crew Commander Gavin McCourty launched the campaign on the crew’s Facebook page this week and got 10,000 views and 150 shares in a matter of days.

One comment suggested that on some roads, cars should be allowed to park only on one side.

Another said that fire engines should be allowed to ‘smash them out of the way’ and that ‘life is more important than materialistic items’.