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  1. #1
    Senior Member hctrouble25's Avatar
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    Default Parking lot problem - help

    My Volunteer Fire Department is located across the street from a bar/restaurant. On the weekends they have live bands that draw large crowds and not much parking area for their customers to park in. Myself and other members are constanly chasing people out of our parking lot and off our property. The owner tries to keep an eye out but is not always successful at keeping his customers off our property. In the past we have had the State Troopers come out to ticket people parked in our lot. Most people will move if asked and are understanding that we don't have much room in our lot and that if we have a call we won't have any place to put our personal vehicles. Others continue to park on our property knowing that we don't sleep at the firehouse and will only be down there in the middle of the night if we have a call. With the siren they can quickly get their cars out of the lot before any member gets there. I have had people threaten me when I have asked them to move, and many don't understand that the firehouse is just that...a firehouse, not a public parking lot for them. We have tried EVERYTHING to keep people from parking here. Tickets for obstructing emergency vehicles - $120 each - most of the people just paid it and didn't care, cones in front of the parking area - they move them, roping off our parking area - they take down the rope, having the bar announce that people need to move - they don't come out, etc. Any suggestions out there???? There is only so much the cops can do and we fear that one night something bad will happen and someone will get hurt cause we can't get the fire trucks out for a call. And yes some people even park right in front of the bay doors!
    Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!


  2. #2
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    Post signs "No Parking, Violators will be towed". and do it. Contact the police on a friday or saturday and have them ticket and towed.
    It is better to try and fail, then quit and succeed.

  3. #3
    Forum Member snowball's Avatar
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    You might want to see about a chain link fence with an electric gate that can be operated remotely from the cab of your engine
    Or you could adapt a snow plow to the front of your rig. I think you would only have to use that once.
    IAFF

  4. #4
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Fence in the parking lot area and have a remote control for the gate. Enforce the towing and tagging of the offending vehicles, with an acscending rate for the fines, for example, first offense, $120, second, $240 and so on. This can be done by local ordinance. Eventually, somne will realize that paying $245 for a beer and a parking ticket gets a tad expensive after a while!

    If someone is foolish enough to park right in front of the firehouse doors, use the big bumper on the big red truck and push the car out of the way...idiots like that shouldn't be driving anyway!

    [ 07-16-2001: Message edited by: Captain Gonzo ]
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  5. #5
    Senior Member hctrouble25's Avatar
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    Thanks for some of the great ideas! I will pass these on to the powers that be at the firehouse. I really like the idea of fines going up for repeat offenders. It usually is the same idiots who keep doing this. I could never understand the stupidity of these people....you know if it was their house burning and we took 5 extra minutes to get there that they would be screaming at us "what took you so long!"
    Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    I'd have to agree with the Post No Parking - Towing @ oweners expense" and then enforce it.

    You might even go so far as to contact a local wrecker service to see if they would "loan" you a truck for a couple hours. Just park it in your lot and have someone sit in it (even if the towing co. just parked it there and one of your members sat in it). That might be a large enough threat to get the point across.

    Wish you the best of luck. Hope you can get things worked out.

    Take Care - Stay Safe
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Could be a profitable franchise for a local towing firm...better make sure all your members have FD Stickers on the cars though (I see it now, come back from a call, to an empty lot...)

    Working in a downtown area we have a local service ,Pat's, circling like sharks most of the time. They get paid for the tow before releasing the car, and the property owner gets a kickback from Pat.

    Hmmm, I see fundraiser...
    IACOJ Canine Officer
    20/50

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber UTFFEMT's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like the Volleys are missing out on that great opportunity to make some serious cash for the Dept.

    Purchase a used POS tow truck and start towing right away. Come up with an ordinance in the town so the FD gets to keep all the funds less expenses.

    Before you know it, your department will be a Combination department keeping busy making $$$ for your new FD equipment just towing vehicles.
    Front line since 1983 and still going strong

  9. #9
    Senior Member hctrouble25's Avatar
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    Wow, more great ideas! We have tried the tow truck thing once...but we called and then the owner left the bar and the tow truck guy showed up....luckily he was a friend and said not to worry about it but that if we had called someone else they might have charged us anyway. So we have to be careful. Actually one of our buddies that is a State Trooper came up one night and put a bunch of tickets on cars only to find out that that group of people had rented our very small banquet hall for a baby shower. Imagine his surprise! Now they know to check in the window of the banquet hall to see if anyone is in there or to come around back and use the kitchen door and ask one of the members. All members have a plate on their car identifying them as members. Thanks for all the great ideas!!!!
    Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

  10. #10
    Forum Member MetalMedic's Avatar
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    Originally posted by hctrouble25:
    Actually one of our buddies that is a State Trooper came up one night and put a bunch of tickets on cars only to find out that that group of people had rented our very small banquet hall for a baby shower. Imagine his surprise! Now they know to check in the window of the banquet hall to see if anyone is in there or to come around back and use the kitchen door and ask one of the members. All members have a plate on their car identifying them as members. Thanks for all the great ideas!!!!
    Being a cop, you are making it difficult to enforce if you allow some people to park there, but not others. It should be Fire Department parking ONLY. You can set aside another area for your "guests" renting the banquet hall. But if you need a spot for response, it shouldn't matter if it is a bar patron, a banquet hall user or someong visiting the residence next door.. NO ONE but firefighters should be in the designated parking space for your responders.

    Once you get that firmly established, it is time to let the State Troopers sharpen their ticket pens and start the towing service rotation until the word gets around that it will cost $140.00 plus a tow bill and the hassle of getting their car out of impound to park there. That will solve the problem eventually. Graduated fines are OK, but it sounds like you are located outside of a municipality, so it may be difficult to get such legislation passed.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

  11. #11
    Senior Member hctrouble25's Avatar
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    Actually the cars were parked around back of the firehouse and so he just assumed these belonged to the patrons across the street. The cars were in our lot behind the building but not in the way if we had a call. Our building is built on a hill so we have some parking out front - which will be gone after this week cause we just added two new bays and an upstairs addition, about 15 spots along the hill on the side of the building, and about 15-20 behind the building. If we are responding we always park in front or on the side of the building...never behind. So we use back there for guests that may rent our hall. The Trooper was trying to do us a favor and didn't realize that the hall was rented from time to time to help us pay for the building addition. He was not mad at us or anything, he just went to court, apologized, and explained that in the future he needed to come inside to see if the hall was rented. The owner of the bar has tried to rent from us the problem is that he won't get insurance on the lot for when he rents it. So if some drunk falls down our hill or down the stairs on the side of the building, or if someone hits someone elses car then the firehouse is responsible. Since he refused to take out his own insurance we refused to let him park there anymore. We have Private Property, No Parking, and Car will be towed at owners expense signs all over the place but no one cares. Even after the Troopers issued 20 something tickets on one night the people continued to park there. It is out of control. I talked to my Chief last night about some of the suggestions I got on this board and told him that we might want to go to the township and offer a local towing company the option of towing cars that are not labeled with Fire Department plates as long as we get a cut of the money. He thought this sounded great. Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions!
    Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

  12. #12
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    You might of thought of this already but why not designate a parking area for firefighters responding to calls and then charge $10.00 per car to park. Fire Co. not responsible for vehicles. This could be a money maker and since a member is there anyway chasing people away try turning it to a profit. Good luck and hope you can gain financially from your dilemma.

  13. #13
    Senior Member hctrouble25's Avatar
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    We did think of this but then the insurance liability is still there. If someone gets hurts on our private property we are responsible for it even if they are there without our permission. Sort of like the law that allows people with pools to be sued if someone drowns in it even if the owner did not give them permission to swim in it. I think we are going to talk to some local tow truck companies and see if they are willing to work something out with us. It is very frustrating when we have a call at night and we go to the building and there are cars everywhere in our parking lot and we have to squeeze our vehicles in to respond to a fire. What really amazes me is that these people do this at all. Do they think we know when fires are going to start? We have no control over when we get called out and if they are in the way when we respond then it holds us up and someone could get hurt. I guess people that are not around the EMS don't understand what we do, but common courtesy should still apply. The best was the girl that parked right in front of our bay door - luckily that truck was not used - she actually parked her vehicle right up against the door. So our Chief at the time went over to the bar and told her to move NOW. So she curses at him and finally comes out of the bar and says she didn't know She had parked in front of a firehouse..HELLO? The big yellow trucks inside the window didn't give it away?! haha So she moves her car right over in front of a sign that says "NO PARKING FIRE FIGHTERS PARKING ONLY RESTRICTED AREA" and parks it and gets out. The Chief walks over and says "do you pay attention at all?" She call him another nasty name and pulls across the street blocking in another car. So at this point she tells our Chief she is calling the State Police on him. He tells her he already did that for her. The police show up she won't talk to them so they sit up the road and wait for her to leave. Then they bust her for DUI. Couldn't have happened to a nicer person. They wanted to talk to her but when they stopped her she was so drunk and so beligirent to them that they just arrested her. We go through this stuff all the time. But my absolute favorites are the ones that tell me "do you know how much money I donate to your department every year?" No I don't, but if you donate a thousand right now we might let you park there. haha
    Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

  14. #14
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    The issue of parking on your lot can be a little tricky, but the part about blocking apparatus doors should be cut & dried. Doesn't Jersey have a section in the vehicle code prohibiting such activity?? PA does - anything parked within 500 feet of a station entrance is illegal anywhere, statewide. Some municipalities will put parking spaces inside this zone, which muddies the issue, but I assume that this isn't the case in front of your doors. You should look into this.

    If you have the same kind of law in force, then, if I were you, I'd have people there each and every night that this is a problem with a video camera to record vehicle placement, plates and driver reactions, call in the cops on every single offender every single time they do it, have them ticketed and towed, and push the issues hard until they get the point.

    For good measure, you could send the history of the incidents, videotape footage, etc. to the licensing authority for the bar/restaurant (your state's counterpart to PA's Bureau of Liquor Code Enforcement). I would imagine that if the liquor license goes away (after you have the bar declared a public nusciance), your problem goes away.

    There's no reason to play softball here. Hit 'em hard, hit 'em often, and hit 'em where it hurts most.


  15. #15
    Forum Member MetalMedic's Avatar
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    Maybe things are different in New Jersey, but I don't see how contacting the towing services will solve your problems. If they damage a vehicle towing it, you will be liable just as if someone fell in your parking lot. I still think your best option is to get law enforcement involved in issuing citations and THEN towing the vehicles. That way, the liability falls back on the law enforcement agency and, as I said earlier, they get the double whammy of a fine AND getting their car out of impound.

    Sure seems like that bar is a nuisance too. Have you ever considered contacting your State liquor control agency to see if they would be interested in looking into this? If a licenses establishement is causing a problem that creates a hazard to the general public (i.e. interfering with the response of the fire department), liquor control might consider suspending or revoking their license. No booze, no bar... problem solved!
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

  16. #16
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    you chase people out of your lot???? doesn't sound like very good "customer service".

  17. #17
    Senior Member hctrouble25's Avatar
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    Customer service?! They are blocking apparatus, taking spots away from fire fighters who need to park there to respond to calls, and then there is the liability if they get hurt. I am assuming that you did not read the entire post with all comments on page 1. At least I hope not. We are there to protect the public from fire...first and foremost. Not to provide parking to the bar across the street.

    Thanks for all the great suggestions....I am taking them to the powers that be in the firehouse as I get them. This is something that needs to be handled quickly by us. Thanks again. Take care.
    Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

  18. #18
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    Break out the hydraulics, sounds like prime material to practice extrication techniques :-)

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    Break out the hydraulics, sounds like prime material to practice extrication techniques :-)

  20. #20
    Senior Member hctrouble25's Avatar
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    hahahhahaha we have the tools for it too. Boy would that be funny..although expensive for us to replace their car...but the look on their face might be worth it. ahhhaha
    Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

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