Blocked Driveways Block Emergency Response

Emergency responders say when they're called, they go. But it's often difficult reaching their destination, putting lives at risk.
Lafayette County's Fire Engine One is 30 feet long, nine feet wide, and nine feet tall.
Lafayette County paramedic J.C. Lawson said, "If you have trouble getting your pickup truck or your car down your driveway, then you can just imagine trying to get a fire truck or a large ambulance to you also."
The Lafayette County Emergency Management Director is asking county commissioners to set requirements on driveways.
First responders say it's hard to get into homes in the rural county during emergencies because of too many low-hanging trees blocking driveways.
County firefighter W.C. Hart said, "We may have to drive ten or 12 miles to get to the scene. One of the things that we don't need when we get there is trees and limbs and that sort of thing keeping us from getting as close as we can."
A few close calls sparked the need for driveway standards.
"We had to actually park on the side of the road and walk into the residence with all of our equipment and our stretchers. It was a time delay and it was unfortunate because we couldn't gain access." Said Lawson, recalling one emergency call.
A new ordinance would require residents to clear driveways and set height and width requirements for driveways, gates and fences.
local resident Kathy Barwick said, "That's for our purpose, the 911 thing. So if we need them they should be allowed to have access to get to us if we ever call them."
EMS officials say better access could save homes in a fire and lives in an emergency.
The EMS director says the new driveway ordinance would also prevent the emergency vehicles from getting damaged.


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