News release text
A campaign aimed at changing parents’ driving habits around Ashford schools is being supported by local firefighters.
The 'Responsible Parking' initiative, which focusses on the Ashford area from 12 to 14 May, has been set up to help schools encourage parents and other drivers on the "school run" to consider their journey options and to park in a safe and considerate manner.
The focus will be on the need to keep the school entrance safe and congestion free by promoting safer driving behaviour, as well as urging parents and pupils to think about alternative transport options and initiatives for getting to school, such as a walking bus.
Throughout the week, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) will be working with partners from Ashford Community Safety Unit (CSU) including KCC wardens, Ashford Borough Council parking enforcement officers and Kent Police, to advise motorists of the dangers of inconsiderate parking and to provide tips about driving responsibly around schools in Ashford and the surrounding area.
KFRS Partnership Manager Simon Smith said: “I would urge parents to consider when parking in residential roads and around schools whether there is room for fire engines and other emergency vehicles to get through. Fire engines need plenty of space to get to incidents safely without damaging vehicles.
“Occasionally crews may need to find an alternative route if the road is blocked and there is always the concern that this could result in tragedy if a delay means they arrive too late to save someone from the deadly effects of smoke and fire or another life-threatening emergency.”
Advice will be available about the safe use of child safety seats and parents will be reminded that child seats need to be correctly fitted for the size and weight of their children and suitable for their vehicles.
In addition, partners will be raising the issue of seat belt use. Research shows that there is still a significant minority of people in the UK (14 per cent) that do not wear a seatbelt every time they travel, for example on short journeys or if travelling in the back of the car.*
Simon added: “Not wearing a seatbelt, even on a short journey like the school run, significantly increases the risk of being killed or seriously injured in the event of a crash.”
Sue Birchall, Business Manager for Willesborough Junior School said: "Having worked with the CSU previously on the ParkSafe campaign, we are very pleased to have the opportunity to join in with the new Responsible Parking initiative. The school is located in the centre of a residential area and we are very conscious of the need to encourage responsible parking to the staff, parents and visitors to our school both for safety and community relations.
Our aim is to use the support provided by this campaign to highlight the need for responsible and thoughtful parking which will involve all members of our school community. We hope that, by using the resources, advice and support available we can make a difference."