Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service are urging parents to think twice about where they park their vehicles when dropping off and collecting children at schools throughout the city.
"We are asking parents to think about where they park – lets try to make it safer for everyone."
Tracey Cresswell, Neighbourhood Co-ordinator at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service
The Service carried out a number of test runs around Blurton Primary School throughout various dates in November and December last year and experienced issues on all attempts to travel safely and quickly through the area. The main problem roads were Oakwood Road and Poplar Drive. The problem is caused by parents parking inconsiderately when picking up or dropping off children.
Tracey Cresswell, Neighbourhood Co-ordinator at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "It has been a concern for some time that access is restricted during school drop-off and collection periods outside city schools and surrounding roads – remember that the fire engine may be trying to reach people in desperate need.
"Also parents parking inconsiderately are making it dangerous for pupils to safely cross the roads in school areas. We are asking parents to think about where they park – lets try to make it safer for everyone."
Blurton Primary School Head Teacher, Vicky Evans said: "This is a major concern for us and we were shocked to find out that emergency vehicles had problems on all tests dates.
"We have looked into various options to combat the problem, such as parents coming onto the grounds but due to safety measures it just isn’t possible. We do have the yellow lines outside the gates to prevent them from being blocked but people do still park there and sometimes even pull into the driveway and then reverse onto the road which is very dangerous.
"We also have concerns about parents parking on the pavements, as this makes it dangerous for the children walking on the pavements; we have had a few near misses in the past."
Councillor Debra Gratton, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for children's services, said: "The issue of parking when dropping off and picking up children outside schools is something that parents at schools across the city need to be mindful of.
"We urge all parents to be considerate when parking, and thank the fire service for highlighting this issue - it is vitally important that the emergency services have as clear access as possible to city streets. Parking officers are able to carry out patrols during the school run hours in the morning and afternoon every day and take necessary enforcement action, usually advising parents to move on. Penalties are issued if the vehicle is parked illegally and the driver is not in the vehicle.
"We take steps to ensure motorists aren't causing hazards, but it is important that parents themselves consider other road users and don't create dangers. Emergency routes and exists must not be blocked."