Vehicles preventing Coxheath fire fighters from accessing fire hall

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COXHEATH — Disastrous consequences are feared as a result of an ongoing habit that sees motorists block the entrance way to the Coxheath Volunteer Fire Department.

Members of the Coxheath Volunteer Fire Department, Carl Campbell and Gary Waye, stand were many vehicles have been parked in recent months. Parking in that area is preventing fire fighters from accessing and exiting the fire hall and members believe that jeopardizes public safety.

Department members have watched motorists block their entrance and exit for years, but the recent closure of the Sydney River bridge has accentuated the problem.

"Traffic since the bridge has been closed is bumper to bumper from the ramp all the way to the high school. It is even difficult for our vehicles to get access to the road," said Carl Campbell, chief of the department.

"They are parking side by side at the front of the parking lot and that's where we can't get into the hall. We have to try to find a parking spot to even get into the hall, run back to the hall, get our gear on, get into the trucks and then respond."

Motorists are parked so close to the hall, they can't even see fire vehicles attempting to leave the fire hall either, he noted.

The chief said motorists are mostly blocking the entrance during school hours when students are picked up and dropped off at neighbouring Riverview Rural High.

Sometimes it is just for a few minutes, but the fear is that it could be just enough time to prevent the fire department from responding to a call or make them respond to a call a few minutes too late.

"There was an issue where the fire truck was coming out of the hall with lights and sirens," he said about a recent example.

"We laid on the air horn several times. The driver in front of us couldn't get out on the street and basically waved her arms up in the air as if to say 'what do you want me to do.'

We got called off, so we didn't have to respond, but it could have been a structure fire and that delay could have put lives and property at risk."

A car also recently broke down in front of the fire bay doors, forcing members to push it out of the way so they would be ready for any emergency calls.

Fire department members have been taking photos of license plates of the vehicles parking in front of their department. Campbell said several insurance companies have informed him that motorists who block the entrance could face many liabilities issues.

Cape Breton Regional Police Services have been asked to ticket any vehicles parked in front of the fire hall, as well.

Campbell would also like to see volunteer fire fighters given green lights for their vehicles, as is the case in some areas. He said the light would to indicate a volunteer fire fighter was responding to a fire and perhaps other vehicles would give them quicker access to the fire hall.

"It is a volunteer fire department. It is not manned at all times. It's important for our firefighters to have access to the parking lot to get in as well as it is to get out and on to a scene."

Geographic location: Coxheath, Sydney River

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Recent comments

  • For Drivers Ed...
    April 15, 2014 - 17:43

    Join the facebook group about the green lights and I am sure the person who started it and did the research for the past 6 years can answer any questions you have so that you will understand when speaking about the lights. Also I noticed you said you see Firefighters flying around and I do to. But the problem is sometimes when you take the time to find out who is driving the car/truck etc it isn't always a firefighter. Also I think they are asking for the Green Light to respond to emergencies so that they can ask for the right of way and yes it will make it quicker if cars pull over. But then if the firefighter is flying as some say then they would be identified that they are doing it during a response if the green light is flashing. Check out the group and ask some questions it will help either way, for it or against it. I also noticed your name is drivers ed is that because you are one or just a nick name as you know we would all have stories about drivers ed cars and what has happen to us around one at one time or another. And that would be fair to rip those cars and drivers apart as we know they are learning to driver, right.

  • Willie
    February 20, 2014 - 08:26

    Simple solution - tow the offending vehicles. It seems many people do not understand the Green Light idea. This type of light is used across the country, safely and efficiently. The light Does Not give volunteer FF. the right to speed etc. It is simply a device to warn other drives to give way to the FF.'s vehicle. I've never seen any of them going through red lights and stop signs. Thirdly, people need to Pay Attention when driving, anywhere, anytime. I've seen an ambulance, lights flashing, siren blaring come up behind a vehicle that continued on, oblivious to the urgent situation on their rear bumper. We have review mirrors and side mirrors for good reason. Courtesy and attentiveness go a long way to safe, efficient driving.

    • drivers ed
      February 22, 2014 - 14:17

      I understand the Green Light idea as well... and I do agree with it, what I'm saying is more work needs to be done than just going to buy one and putting it in your car. On the facebook page it continually refers to the Ontario Governments guidelines for Green lights yet a lot of VFF talk about how they need to get there quick, as fast as they can etc etc. Personal experience has seen them disregard MVA laws, which I'm sure is a result of the adrenaline and the want to help. If y'all want a green light then to the background work and bring it to your MP's, and by background I don't mean stamping your feet saying "we want one!". And to the poster who asked why I didn't report the VFF to the police, don't assume anything. The VFF's insurance company called for a statement, then the insurance company for the FD he belonged to called and paid out for the damage caused to my car. While I respect the fact that y'all VFF's have to get to where you need to be, public safety on the way there has to be taken into account as well. To say that they don't speed or pass unsafely or tailgate is a crock... you know it and I know it and they know it, I don't expect you to admit it though.

  • dear drivers ed
    February 17, 2014 - 06:28

    i have had the same experience with vehicles cutting me off and passing on a double line and none of those people were volunteer ff, and if you experienced such driving infractions have you ever called the fire department in that area or the police if noone complains it allows it to continue. As for insurance and vehicle safety volunteers are responsible for there own actions and insurance until they arrive at the hall. A defensive driving course, I have been in the service for 19 yrs and learned by driver training from within the fire department never was there a time the CBRM ever offered any defensive or safety driver course. As for the green light I believe it would enhance safety to not only our public drivers as well as our Vol. ff because you would now know if a green light flashes behind you you would know that ff is responding to an emergency and hopefully ease over to the side of the road and allow him/her through. It might be your house or relative we are trying to assist.

    • drivers ed
      February 18, 2014 - 18:45

      Sigh. I love how you all pull the "it might be your house or relative" when trying to debate. All of the things I have spoken of are not daydream meanderings... they are fact. If you put a light on your vehicle and operate it in an emergency capacity (which encompasses speed and passing, going through intersections and stop signs), then you have to have a maintained vehicle and some type of insurance to cover same. As well you can't just have a green light, you also have to have a siren installed. Anyone who has ever driven an emergency vehicle including our beloved firefighters know that a siren has to be activated in conjunction with said light. It seems to me that a lot of supporters including yourself would rather not look at the logistics of this. On the flipside, if any firefighter slams into me or a relative on the way to the station because he was driving like he shouldn't be... lawyer up, and that goes for the Dept.

  • Caper
    February 16, 2014 - 22:48

    Why is our police force not enforcing the law and doing their job. Have these vehicles towed and ticketed!

  • alex
    February 16, 2014 - 21:24

    well, my opinion is that these people are like many who park in handicap parking spots when they don't have a permit, or aren't the driver that has the handicap, or the ones that block access to front doors at major box stores, or are the ones who speed constantly , and the whole problem is lack of enforcement- if people are not shown that they can't break the law without punishment, then they continue to do so- and the root must go back to why are they not punished? The article says the CBRP have been asked to ticket these vehicles? I wonder how many ticketed since? and why did they have to be asked? do they not ever go by there? Until police set the examples and ticket the guilty things will never change- they have to stop being friends- I want them to be police and enforce rules- ...and by the way ticketing these cars and leaving them there is not enough, ticket and tow, or the police become part of the problem if there is an emergency call and the trucks can't get out to answer the call- it might be to save your family. Do you still want to park there?

  • drivers ed
    February 16, 2014 - 14:39

    Just want to ask about this green light that is being talked about. To compare it to a purple light that hearses use is ridiculous... hearses don't scream down the road towards the cemetery, they are slow moving moving vehicles. If you are going to use emergency lights such as a green light then all of your volunteer drivers will have to undertake a defensive driving course of some kind and the cars they use that display the light and they use as an "emergency vehicle" will have to be maintained yearly to a standard... which means no falling apart taurus's and mustangs. I have had a number of volunteer Fire plates tailgate me, pass unsafely in the face of traffic, and cut me off (once into a snow bank)... this is without a green light! Imagine if they get a green light. While I understand your need to get to the station to get ready, these are not emergency vehicles. If one of these volunteers causes an accident while displaying a green light, a VFF plate or on the way to a fire... then it will be the fire dept's insurance that is responsible. Have these things been thought over or is it "we want a green light and people to pull over" emotional response only?

  • Get proactive....
    February 16, 2014 - 10:46

    Get CBRM to get you some temporary traffic barricades...and put them close to the road witha sign...and get CBRP and the neighbours to monitor them to monitor them ....that bridge is a long way from completion.

  • Enforcement
    February 16, 2014 - 10:25

    Because Canadians are polite, beef up the signage. Then ticket and tow in full force, until ignorance and arrogance are at bay. Lives and property trump convenience.

  • glenn
    February 16, 2014 - 06:50

    How utterly stupid are these drivers????

  • Nancy
    February 16, 2014 - 05:41

    I agreed 100% ticket all that park there people today don't give damn.

  • Art
    February 15, 2014 - 22:18

    Green Light Response for Nova Scotia Volunteer Fire Fighters https://www.facebook.com/groups/116535318372177/

  • GB
    February 15, 2014 - 19:36

    Tow the vehicles, every single one of them. Can't imagine trucks not being able to respond to a call.

  • Bigcaper
    February 15, 2014 - 19:14

    Not an issue, tow them all, every time. I guarantee after they pay to retrieve their car it will stop. I don't know why there is a reluctance to enforce rules around here....

  • person of interest
    February 15, 2014 - 15:07

    these trucks have big bumpers use them police use their bumpers

    • You're interested in the wrong things
      February 15, 2014 - 21:03

      To protect lives and preserve property. Not destroy property. This is a responsible move by an organization that had the public's best interests in mind. Hence why they are taking a preventative approach rather than a reactive approach 'person of interest'.