ECHO readers have been drawing attention to roads around the conurbation where parked cars could block emergency vehicles.

It follows an appeal by firefighters in Christchurch for residents to ensure they leave a large enough gap when parking for fire engines to get past, after their response to a 999 call in Avon Buildings, off Bargates, was blocked last month.

While the roads, spread across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, are not necessarily narrow overall, the spacing of parking bays increases the likelihood of a blockage.

Roads identified thus far include Parley Road, Spring Road, Stanley Road and Victoria Road in Bournemouth, Carisbrooke Road, Chaffinch Close, Curzon Road, Freshwater Drive, Guernsey Road, Swift Close and Wentworth Drive in Poole, Portfield Road, Riverlea Road and Somerset Road in Christchurch and Tamar Close/Severn Road in Ferndown.

Matt Kiddell, Blue Watch manager at Christchurch Fire Station, last week warned that moving cars out of the way or running equipment past them could cost vital minutes turning an emergency into a tragedy.

"Seconds do count in life-threatening situations," he said.

He said Christchurch crews had encountered difficulties attending incidents in Pokesdown, and that Springbourne crews had had difficulties in that area.

Bournemouth council's road safety manager Richard Pearson said the borough had not been alerted to any specific problem road by the fire service.

"It is vitally important that the fire service as well ambulances, refuse, delivery and other service vehicles can gain access to Bournemouth’s roads and when planning our schemes or reviewing new planning applications the council ensures that designs provide adequate access," he said.

"The fire service are also a statutory consultee in this process and automatically made aware whenever the council consults on the traffic regulation orders that are required to introduce, remove or amend existing restrictions.

"We would encourage all drivers to pay attention to any restrictions and park considerately."

Steve Dean, from the growth and infrastructure team at Borough of Poole, said: "We support the fire service’s request that drivers park considerately so that emergency and service vehicles can get through.

"The council worked with all three emergency services and the refuse collection service on this issue in 2010/11 and introduced parking restrictions to clear the areas where they experienced the most severe access difficulties.

"We continue to work closely with these organisations and discuss access issues at our regular traffic meetings."