Vancouver police Thursday launched a new initiative aimed at getting residents to display their laneway address to make it easier for first responders to find them in the event of an emergency.
“No one questions the importance of a visible address to first responders in an emergency, but most people don’t consider the alley-side of their homes,” Deputy Chief Howard Chow said in a news release. “There are many situations when police officers, firefighters, or paramedics need to find your home from the alley. The moments wasted going to the front of the house could mean the difference between life and death.”
As part of the initiative, the Vancouver Police Foundation is funding about 400 free address plates for residents in a Strathcona neighbourhood.
Volunteers from the Strathcona Community Policing Centre will distribute information cards and free metal address plates. An informal audit of the neighbourhood reveals that 419 of the 570 residences, 74 per cent, between the areas of Vernon and Gore avenues, and Pender Street to Atlantic, did not have an address displayed at the rear of the home.
“The Vancouver Police Foundation is proud to support initiatives that contribute to the safety of Vancouver residents,” said Andre Wright, the foundation’s executive director. “In the past 40 years, we have provided $8 million in funding to more than 150 safety initiatives that fall outside of the VPD’s annual budget.”
City bylaws require residents to maintain suitable address signage, lighting and access for all buildings on a property facing the street that the address is based, but does not require residents to mark addresses at the rear of the premises.
“The bottom line is that we can’t help you if we can’t find you,” Chow said.
Vancouver police will monitor response times in the pilot project area and is encouraging all residents in Vancouver to ensure their addresses are visible from the back lane.