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January 12, 2013


Staff Writer

Delaware City Council updated sections of its city code, clarifying who can create and enforce designated fire lanes.

The revision became necessary, in part, when people began posting their own “No Parking Fire Lane” signs, and then expecting staff to enforce the unauthorized restrictions, Delaware Fire Chief John Donahue said.

These arbitrary signs created enforcement problems for the fire department.

To alleviate those problems, as well as align the Delaware City Codified Ordinances with the Ohio Fire Code, the city formalized the process of establishing fire lanes, Donahue said.

Delaware City had no official fire lanes before the recent regulations were created, he said.

One of the recent amendments grants the fire chief the authority to establish new fire lanes. A fire lane requested by a property owner must fit the state regulations for width and markings, as well as receive the fire chief’s approval.

According to Ohio Fire Code, the access roads must be unobstructed, at least 20 feet wide and with at least 13 feet 6 inches of vertical clearance.

The amended section is meant to standardize the city’s fire lanes while allowing the fire department to know where they are located.

Another amendment prohibits parked or idling vehicles in areas marked as a fire lane. Exceptions include crossing into a designated area to avoid conflict with other traffic or to obey directions of a police officer or traffic control device.

The revised code also authorizes the police department to enforce any violations.

The fire department is now in the process of examining places in the city where the fire lanes might be necessary, Donahue said. Lanes will not be established in places currently dedicated to parking and will likely not impact residents on a daily basis, he said.

The lanes are meant to keep access roads open for fire trucks in the case of an emergency or to ensure that firefighters will have access to a hydrant when on the scene.

The intention is not to establish “no parking” zones for residents or business owners to create at will, Donahue said.

Residents and business owners can post their own general parking regulations, although they would not be enforceable by law, he said.

The department will consider the general public’s suggestions or request for the placement of a fire lane, Donahue said.