IRRESPONSIBLE motorists who abandon their vehicles outside Glengormley Fire Station, blocking in fire engines, are putting people’s lives at risk.
That was the stark warning issued this week by the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service’s Glengormley District Commander, David Heyburn, and the Principal of nearby Glengormley Integrated Primary School, Nigel Arnold, as they appealed to drivers, particularly parents dropping off and picking up children on Church Road, to think before parking.
The two men spoke out following a recent incident during which a fire crew was delayed getting to a house blaze because a motorist had obstructed the front of the station.
The road in front of the fire station’s appliance bays is clearly painted with yellow zig-zag lines and ‘KEEP CLEAR’, but it seems some drivers are simply ignoring the markings.
District Commander Heyburn, said: “I would appeal to drivers dropping off and collecting children from Glengormley Integrated Primary School not to park in front of Glengormley Fire Station.
“The sheer volume of cars and unfortunately some irresponsible parking at peak times, has the potential to delay fire appliances leaving the station. Seconds count in saving lives and we would ask people not to block access from the fire station under any circumstances.”
Mr Arnold confirmed that the school has already sent letters home with pupils on two separate occasions about the problem, but said that some parents still won’t heed the plea not to park in front of the fire station.
“It is a small chance, but there is that chance that someone could lose their life. We need people to realise the bigger picture here. Yes we want children picked up safely from school and we want them to get home safe, but that can’t be at the expense of someone’s life in a house fire. And people aren’t thinking about that when they abandon their cars outside the fire station,” he commented.
“Some people say ‘I was only out of the car for 30 seconds’, but that 30 seconds could cost someone their life,” he added.
The Principal said that it is vital that all local stakeholders, including the school, the Fire Service, Newtownabbey Borough Council, Roads Service, the PSNI and local traders, work together to find a solution to the problem before someone loses their life.
Read the full story in this week’s Times...