Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Is your parking putting lives at risk?

Firefighters are urging people not to put lives at risk through inconsiderate parking

Badly parked cars are making it difficult to reach incidents as well as stopping access to nearby water supplies.

Double parking, parking on junctions and parking over fire hydrants are just some of the issues that are stopping firefighters being able to respond quickly and efficiently to incidents.

Station Manager, Martyn Hare, said:

“When we are called to an emergency we want to get there as quickly as possible, but so often we are delayed because we can’t get our fire engine through roads blocked with cars.

“We have to either slow down to get through small gaps or turn around and find a different route. All this adds vital minutes to our journey, which can be the difference between life and death.

“People are also parking over fire hydrants which means our nearest supply of water is blocked and the next nearest hydrant could be several roads away.

"In the event of a fire, it is paramount that firefighters have access to water supplies quickly and there is no delay in getting our water supply established.

“We appreciate that people want to park outside their homes and aren’t doing it deliberately, but they have to help us help them.

“We are asking residents to consider whether their parking could be putting lives at risk”.

Firefighters from Rayleigh Weir Fire Station have been out in their community targeting cars which are causing an obstruction.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has approximately 33,000 fire hydrants spread throughout the county and a dedicated team of Hydrant Examiners who test and maintain each hydrant to ensure availability in case of an emergency.

Under the Fire and Rescue Services Act Section 42 it is illegal to obstruct a fire hydrant. This includes parking over or too near to a fire hydrant. Anyone found to be obstructing a fire hydrant can be convicted and be fined.

We encourage members of the public to contact us to report a damaged fire hydrant; to do this call us on 01376 57600 or email water.section@essex-fire.gov.uk with the hydrant number and the location.

 

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What are fire hydrants?
Most fire hydrants in the UK are installed underground and once you know what to look for they are easy to spot – they are commonly identified by a yellow plastic indicator plate with a black ‘H’ symbol, usually fixed to a nearby lamp post or other street furniture. They are also identified in some instances by a yellow concrete marker post, secured in the ground in close proximity to the fire hydrant. The fire hydrant cover within the ground is embossed with ‘FH’  initials and this metal cover is painted yellow along with any adjoining kerb where available. Also in more rural areas, a 9” high yellow thermoplastic road ‘H’ and directional arrow is applied in the road surface.

Our firefighting crews connect a standpipe, a bit like a tap, on to the fire hydrant outlet which gives them access to an instant supply of water during emergencies.

Under the Fire and Rescue Services Act Section 42 it is illegal to obstruct a fire hydrant. This includes parking over or too near to a fire hydrant. Anyone found to be obstructing a fire hydrant can be fined upon conviction £500.

Why do we inspect hydrants?
If there is a fire, we need to be sure that fire hydrants work properly and there is an adequate supply of water for firefighting.

Inspecting our county’s 33,000 fire hydrants is a full time job which is carried out on a rolling schedule; our dedicated team of six Fire Hydrant and Dry-Riser Technicians are out on the road every day, testing and maintaining each fire hydrant so that they are available in case of an emergency.  Our team of technicians also test around 1700  private fire hydrants and around 220 dry risers in high rise buildings on an annual basis as well as responding to any reports of damaged or defective fire hydrants.

We encourage members of the public to contact us to report any damaged fire hydrant. Simply call us on 01376 576000 or email water.section@essex-fire.gov.uk with the fire hydrant number (shown on the indicator plate or concrete marker post) and the address locationof the fire hydrant.

Did you know?

  • Fire hydrants are identified by a square yellow plastic indicator sign with a black "H" symbol or a yellow concrete marker post so they are easily visible to our fire crews.
  • Our team of highly skilled in-house technicians continually carry out maintenance and repairs to ensure all fire hydrants are readily available when they are needed.
  • We are continuously adding new fire hydrants to the network to provide adequate fire hydrant coverage for new developments and building projects across Essex.
  • We offer a chargeable service to carry out annual testing of private fire hydrants and dry-risers. If you would like more information on this professional service we provide, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01376 576000.
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