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Preventing Suicides at the Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge. May 2006. Purpose of our meeting. Discuss: Strategies for addressing suicides at the bridge Rescue and recovery operations: Commander Dominick Palera, County Sheriff’s Department
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Purpose of our meeting Discuss: • Strategies for addressing suicides at the bridge • Rescue and recovery operations: Commander Dominick Palera, County Sheriff’s Department • Understanding and preventing suicide, and how it relates to bridge jumping: Dr. Lisa Firestone, The Glendon Association Receive: • Feedback from the citizens on course of action
The Issue and Concern: 43 people have committed suicide at the bridge since it was built in 1963 31 have committed suicide since 1981 19 were aged 21-40 14 were aged 41-60 32 were male 11 were female
Further Demographic Breakdown 27 resided in southern Santa Barbara County (from Carpinteria to Goleta) 7 lived in northern Santa Barbara County (Santa Ynez Valley to Santa Maria) 9 were from various California counties
County Sheriff's Department First contact experience Frequency of events and call outs Manpower and resources - cost of a rescue or recovery The difficulty of victim recovery Road Closure Staff safety Video of recent suicide attempt
Multi-functional Task Force Formed to Investigate the Issue and Identify Possible Means to Reduce SuicidesCounty Sheriff’s DepartmentCHPCaltransThe Glendon AssociationEmergency and Health ServicesFamily Service Agency/211SBCAGElected RepresentationCounty Public Works
Potential Strategies Hotline Call Boxes Video Cameras Pull-out restrictions Additional Signing Additional Lighting Public Education Pedestrian Barricades Safety Net
Suicide Hotline Call Boxes Such connections not available at this time
SIGNING Current Sign posted at Cold Spring Bridge
Possible Additional Message Signs Golden Gate Clifton Bridge • We Care About You • Distress Center--We listen 24 hours a day • Statistically, signs have limited effectiveness
Video Cameras Local law enforcement agencies lack resources for visual monitoring Do not prevent suicide May serve as a suicide attraction Surveillance and Patrol Local law enforcement agencies lack resources for visual monitoring
Lighting Lighting has not proven to be an effective deterrent Safety Net Installed underneath the bridge Can be an effective barrier for helping to reduce suicides - alternative proposal Rescue from a net can be problematic
Public Parking/Pull Out Areas Restricting parking or closing off pull out areas may not be effective in reducing suicides Some people park in the middle of the bridge Caltrans Maintenance requires pull out access to both ends of the bridge
Public Education Educate the public through the local media and community meetings and events Provide public awareness that dialing 9-1-1 is best for notifying law enforcement in emergencies
Pedestrian Barrier Demonstrated internationally to be the most effective strategy for preventing bridge related suicides Effective barrier height is six feet tall Can be constructed with aesthetic priorities
Research & Findings Restriction of Means: Preventing the ability to jump How effective is it? Studies show that when people are prevented from jumping, they do not go on to commit suicide by other means. Example: Of 515 people who were prevented from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, only 6 percent went on to commit suicide.
Research & Findings Restriction of Means: Preventing the ability to jump Example: Ellington and Taft Bridges in Washington D.C. Barricade placed at Ellington, but not on nearby Taft. Suicides at Ellington decreased from average of 4 per year to 0 after barricade was installed. Suicides at nearby Taft Bridge did not increase.
Research & Findings Ellington Taft
What Does Pedestrian Fencing Look Like? Ellington
What Does Pedestrian Fencing Look Like? Pasadena Colorado Street Bridge Cold Spring Arch Bridge
What Does Pedestrian Fencing Look Like? Pasadena Colorado Street Bridge
What Does Pedestrian Fencing Look Like? Clifton Suspension Bridge Luminous Veil
What Does Pedestrian Fencing Look Like? Sydney Harbor
How much would a pedestrian barricade cost? Preliminary Estimate: $200,000 to $300,000 Investigating eligibility for Department of Transportation Safety Program Funding
How difficult is it to get clearance to work on the bridge? The bridge is likely eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places Architectural studies required Historical Resources Evaluation Report required Federally funded projects must comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act
Environmental Clearance cont. A Finding of Effects document will need to be prepared, depending on the type of bridge modification proposed Any modification deemed an “adverse effect” on the bridge will require further consultation with Federal Agencies, and perhaps the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
How long would a project take to install a pedestrian barricade? Difficult to assess at this point Project design Environmental review Permitting Interim Fencing Advisable?
Commander Dominick PaleraCounty Sheriff's DepartmentLisa Firestone, Ph.D.The Glendon Association NEXT: