West Pierce Fire & Rescue (WPFR) is ready to respond to emergencies on the water each and every day. One of the common problems encountered when responding to these types of emergencies is trying to get an accurate location and the closest access point to the incident.
Dispatchers often receive calls from a cell phone caller frantically trying to describe their location on the water by using landmarks they see nearby. Often times, the landmark will not allow the dispatcher to pinpoint their location. In this scenario, emergency responders are sent to a general location and attempt to locate the incident from there. This process takes valuable time and when there is an emergency, time is critical. In order to minimize response time, WPFR utilizes the Lake Addressing Program.
The Lake Addressing Program allows anyone, even non-resident boaters, to identify a location on the water or shoreline during an emergency by simply telling the 9-1-1 dispatcher the number located on the nearest dock. This allows for a fast and efficient emergency response to a known location, saving valuable time when it is needed most.
To be successful, the system requires a numbered sign be attached to each dock along the waterfront. The 9-1-1 dispatcher has the ability to cross-reference the dock number with a physical address and give emergency crews the location immediately. This program has been implemented on Gravelly Lake, American Lake and Lake Steilacoom in Lakewood. The signs are approximately 8×12 inches and are brown with white reflective numbers. The cost of the sign is the responsibility of the homeowner.
Dive & Rescue Swimmer Program
In addition to the Lake Addressing Program, WPFR has trained rescue swimmers and divers, as a part of the dive rescue program. At any given time, at least three WPFR firefighters trained as rescue swimmers are on-duty in order to best protect the community. This ensures firefighters are able to safely enter the water and begin search efforts immediately. WPFR has both rescue swimmers and divers trained to ensure the success of this life-saving program.
On average, WPFR responds to 35 water rescue incidents per year, both within lakes and Puget Sound. WPFR has three boats strategically placed throughout the fire district, two of which respond to the many lakes. The third, Fireboat Endeavor, is moored at Narrows Marina and responds to Puget Sound. Fireboat Endeavor is a regional asset that not only responds to incidents within WPFR’s jurisdiction, but assists other local agencies should help be needed.
If Your Dock Does Not Currently Have a Number
If you need to purchase a new or replace an existing dock number, please fill out the form below to request your dock number. Based on your address, a number has already been assigned and WPFR can send it to you. Once the form has been submitted, someone will respond shortly with your dock number and ordering instructions.