When it comes to high school football, Hilliard safety officials say they have to win the battle off the field.
"People parking in the fire lanes has been a big problem,” said Fire Marshall Eric Manske of the Norwich Township Fire Department. "The problem is, if there is an incident or something happens, then they're going to be in the way.”
Parked cars can block fire trucks from responding to emergencies. Norwich Township Fire is partnering up with police, city leaders and schools to make clearing fire lanes a priority.
"It's been our goal from the very beginning that we take a three ‘E’ approach. The first is engineering, making sure schools are properly posted and the fire lanes are properly painted,” said Chief Doug Francis of the Hilliard Police Chief.
The other two Es are education and enforcement.
Francis admits fire lane violations were hard to enforce in the past, due to fading paint and lack of signage.
New paint and more than 70 new signs now clearly identify fire lanes at all Hilliard city schools.
Council is also considering a new ordinance that allows fire officials to designate specific lanes in public areas.
The new fire lane ordinance, if passed, also allows police to ticket you if you are simply parked in a fire lane but still sitting in your car. In other words, no stopping, standing, or parking – or you could get towed.
Safety officials know some parents may not like having to park farther away now.
"A little bit of walking for the safety of your children would be a good thing,” said Manske.
Police say they'll start giving out warning tickets to drivers parked in fire lanes this week.
A public hearing on the new ordinance is scheduled for Monday night.
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