Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has launched a new campaign following an increase in the number of drivers delaying the county’s fire engines from getting to incidents.
The #INeedMySpace campaign was launched on Monday (7 Nov) with the backing of Road Safety GB.
It was produced as Hants fire chiefs say the number of incidents in which motorists hinder emergency service vehicles with erratic driving and poor parking is ‘worse than ever before’.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue says that motorists are putting lives at risk by blocking off roads and even stopping on box junctions outside fire stations. Parking is not the only problem, with firefighters claiming some drivers are not sure what to do when they hear the sirens blaring.
They add that some motorists slam their brakes immediately – increasing the risk of causing an accident while others try to tailgate behind the vehicle.
As a result, the service is giving guidance for motorists on how best to help emergency services get to accidents:
- CALM: Don’t panic or speed up in an attempt to get out of the way.
- ALERT: Turn distracting music down and check mirrors to help determine the direction and number of emergency vehicles.
- RESPONSE: Indicate, check your mirror and move to the left when it is safe to do so.
In addition to these guidelines the public are urged to give a stationary emergency service vehicle a wide berth when moving around it.
Under the campaign hashtag, photographs and videos will be posted online to show examples of these practices and help educate motorists.
Andy Bowers, assistant chief officer, 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.
“On the road we have to deal with motorists who are unsure what to do to allow emergency vehicles to pass, and often slam on their brakes the minute they hear the siren, as well as people who try and tailgate when we have gone past.”
Iain Temperton, Road Safety GB’s director of communications, said: “Our emergency services have a challenging enough job and we all have a responsibility to ensure that they reach their destination as effectively as possible.
“This simple, common sense advice for drivers will help all of us park and drive in such a way that we play our part in keeping our communities safe.”
In a similar initiative back in 2011, GEM Motoring Assist launched the Blue Light Aware video which shows drivers the actions they should take to assist an emergency services vehicle on a ‘blue light’ journey.