Traffic blocking fire station entrance hurting emergency response times

Published: Mar. 29, 2016 at 6:41 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2016 at 11:26 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - North Charleston firefighters say the rush hour traffic in front of some fire stations is causing a problem.

The Station Three entrance, on Remount Road, is often blocked by backed-up traffic and it is preventing fire crews from getting to emergencies quickly.

"I think as we're generally getting more populated in this area, traffic is also getting heavier which is causing more backup," North Charleston Fire Capt. Donald Bowen says. He has been trying to send his neighbors a friendly reminder in the form of a sign reminding people not to block the fire station's driveway.

"We've had the smaller sign up for a while and it's not worked as well as we'd like it to," he says.

The driveway is how fire trucks enter and exit the station. There are lines painted on the pavement in front of it signifying where cars are supposed to stop and keep the space clear.

However, fire officials say that has not been happening lately, especially in rush hour.

Crews are struggling to get out of the driveway safely. It is adding precious seconds, sometimes minutes, to their emergency response times.

There are signs along the road alerting drivers not to block the driveway and the fire department has added a new, electronic sign that is also reminding drivers not to block the driveway while in traffic.

If the problem continues, North Charleston Police may start monitoring it more. Police say blocking a fire station is actually a traffic violation that can land you a nearly $250 ticket and four points on your license.

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