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Fire Vehicle Access

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parkgate
parkgate Community member Posts: 26 Connected

My mother is coming to live with us in a small flat which is part of the upper storey of our house. She is 93 years old and disabled with restricted mobility – at most she can walk about 10 yards.

Whilst we will generally be on hand to provide help we tend to also be out quite a lot.

In her current location she is under the supervision of a social worker following a stay in hospital and has carers visiting daily - this arrangement would continue in her new location which is 200 miles further away, so obviously a new Local Authority who would appoint their social worker and team.

We live at the end of a private drive and which is shared with two other neighbours. The neighbour in the middle occasionally partially blocks the entrance to our drive by parking and although a delivery driver, if careful and driving slowly, can get through, in say a transit van, I have doubts whether a Fire Engine could.

I am taking safety precautions to make the flat as safe as possible ,but in the event of a fire where we would have to call on the emergency services, my mother would be unable to get out without help and would need rescue.

My neighbour has said “any reasonable driver should be able to get through ,but I see a risk especially in emergency where time is of the essence, and any delay could prove to be fatal.

I would rather have peace of mind now rather then being unprepared in an actual emergency.

I am not sure whether this appropriate for this forum, but I wonder whether the local fire officer would be able to comment as to access, or perhaps the social services team?

Any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated.

Kind Regards,


Comments

  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 12,103 Disability Gamechanger
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    You may be worrying without need to here, house fires are quite rare, and if a fie engine encountered what you describe they would probably just "bull doze" a parked car out of the way, speak to the fire safety officer would be my advice.

    2024 Election won

  • parkgate
    parkgate Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    Thanks for the prompt response.
    I am unsure whether fires are rare or not however I feel uneasy about taking an unnecessary risk.
    I suspect the bulldozing would possibly cause the parked car to jam in the gateway and cause further delay.
    I will however speak to the fire safety officer.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi there 

    When I became disappointed my ot arranged the local fire service to come out and do a risk assessment as I was unable to get out without help 

    I didn't have issues with the drive bit they put things in place like rapid response and smoke alarms etc 

    So I won't suggest they may be able to offer some advice 
  • OverlyAnxious
    OverlyAnxious Community member Posts: 2,788 Disability Gamechanger
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    I'm don't think fire engines are fitted with battering rams. 

    I do agree though, it's an odd thing to worry about considering how many other situations are far more common - needing an ambulance for example.

    Does the neighbour have alternative parking that they're choosing not to use?  Or are they parking at an odd angle?  If it's their only parking space, I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect them to stop parking there.

    I don't know if it's area specific but Age Concern (or similar) sent a fire safety assessor to both of my Nan's rented properties to check for access and smoke detectors etc for free.  That may help to ensure your house is as safe as it can be to minimise the fire risk if the same service is available in your area.
  • parkgate
    parkgate Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    Thank you. for taking time to reply.
    I agree an ambulance call out is more likely indeed this has happened a few times in the past in my mothers current location, but I have assumed that if a transit could get through an ambulance could.
    The neighbour does have alternative parking - a large drive.
    I feel that a person should have the security of fire engine access even though the likelihood of needing one is remote.
    This is not the only matter I am worrying about but we are working through the list to make it as safe and as comfortable for her as possible.
  • Route66
    Route66 Community member Posts: 1 Listener
    edited August 2021
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    You can request a Safe & Well visit through your local fire service.
    They will check your smoke detectors and discuss an escape plan with you.  They will also carry out a check of your electrical appliances and other safety related issues.  If you mention the access problem when they visit, they will advise the neighbour accordingly if they feel a need.
    The service is free and is offered by all Fire & Rescue Services in the UK.

  • parkgate
    parkgate Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    Thank you a helpful suggestion - I am making a few improvements to the flat and then I will request a safe and well visit.In the event if a fire then we can get out quickly but my mother would be trapped.
  • parkgate
    parkgate Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    janer1967 said:
    Hi there 

    When I became disappointed my ot arranged the local fire service to come out and do a risk assessment as I was unable to get out without help 

    I didn't have issues with the drive bit they put things in place like rapid response and smoke alarms etc 

    So I won't suggest they may be able to offer some advice 
    Thank You - I will be arranging a visit as you suggest.
  • parkgate
    parkgate Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    I have decided to speak to a solicitor in the first instance which she has agreed to do for a nominal fee to decide the approach.
    In my mother's current property, an occupational therapist and a social worker have visited and they looked at all aspects of safety ,including fire (after consulting with the fire brigade), and we made improvements so maybe they may be able to comment.Also a further development is my uncle (mother's brother) will be coming to stay for extended periods - he is also disabled.I think they both should expect a safe environment in which to live, especially in the event of a fire or medical emergency, where we have to call an ambulance (the prompt action of the ambulance service saved my mothers live a few years ago when she had a stroke) Being elderly and disabled I think they need extra help which I intend to give.I will update the forum as matters progress and thank you for all your help - much appreciated.
  • parkgate
    parkgate Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    I have now consulted with a solicitor and have been told that I would need to demonstrate "substantial interference" to my right of way, and as vehicles have generally been able to get through (even though it has not been tested with a fire engine) it would be hard to argue "substantial interference".Even if the fire officer visited and advised that the parking could restrict access to a fire vehicle, there is no guarantee the court would support it after incurring approximately £30,000 in costs.So this looks like the end of it.Thank You for your help.Kind Regards.
  • parkgate
    parkgate Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    Thank You for your prompt response.
    The problem is there is nowhere to push the car too - I think any forward motion would just push the car into the gateway and block access further or even knock down the gateposts.But I take comfort from your comment that they can bring equipment up on foot.My overriding concern is that we can get out quickly, a disabled person cannot.It seems unfair to me that should not have maximum protection.


  • parkgate
    parkgate Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    Teddybear12 thank you for your reply.
    I am beginning to understand the challenges faced by disabled people - as I now help my disabled mother,uncle and brother in law (who has had two strokes) ,and I think/hope facilities are improving.We are learning to overcome the challenges.I do find it annoying however that often when I take my mother out to a garden centre ,or supermarket, some of the disabled parking bays are occupied by vehicles not displaying a blue badge - but this is another subject!
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