Police and crisis centres in British Columbia are urging the province to find a way to install suicide barriers on the Alex Fraser Bridge. The bridge, completed in 1986, has seen numerous crisis interventions and suicides. Delta police have responded to 48 crisis or suicide attempt calls between 2020 and 2022, with at least six deaths. However, engineers have expressed concerns about the additional weight and stress on the bridge that barriers may cause. Emergency call boxes have been installed along the bridge, but the Ministry of Transportation says current technology limits what else they can do. Stacy Ashton, executive director of the Crisis Centre of B.C., believes that involving engineering departments at B.C.’s universities could overcome these challenges. Suicide barriers are highly effective, reducing suicide attempts by 93%. Ashton also suggests installing barriers on other major bridges and legislating their use in all new builds. In the meantime, Delta police continue to provide emergency response and de-escalation training. However, these crisis calls take a toll on both officers and the public. If anyone is in crisis and needs help, they can call 9-1-1 or visit resources available from the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.
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