BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Emergency crews in Berkeley County say cars parking illegally on streets are posing a serious problem for their response times and access to incidents.
Their message comes after News 2 reported earlier this week that neighbors were growing frustrated with the number of cars that were parking illegally on area streets.
“This is a huge concern that we have every time that we go through a neighborhood,” said Lt. Colt Roy, public information officer for the Whitesville Fire Department. “We have to plan for what to happen if one of the roads is blocked and we can’t get through.”
Lt. Roy says when cars are parked too close together, it’s more than just an inconvenience.
“That either means we have to back an apparatus, or we have to turn one around which is not easy to do in the neighborhood. Another thing we have to consider is what to do when we get to the residents we’re responding to. Is there enough room for us to park and the other units that are responding?”
It is illegal to block traffic when parking on the street. That means there should be enough room for fire trucks and ambulances to get through.
A photograph of one recent situation fire crews came across while responding to a call caused a real delay in their arrival.
“In this case, we were going to an automatic fire alarm, a residential fire alarm- there were two vehicles that were parking on opposite sides of the street and it was close. We actually had firefighters have to get out of the truck and spot the driver. We had inches; we didn’t think we were going to make it.”
Even short delays like this can have an impact. A fire could spread, or urgent medical treatment could be delayed.
“Everything we do is about speed, and the reason for that is because things only get worse,” said Lt. Roy. “All kinds of things that we’re going to, they never improve on their own.”
Lt. Roy went on to say, “When we’re delayed, that’s a very big thing for us and a negative impact on everything we’ve tried to do.”