Deception Pass Bridge phone to boost safety

Yvette Fletcher already took a significant step to increase safety at Deception Pass Bridge. Now she just wants people to be able to find it.

A red emergency phone that dials 911, located in a red box on the west side of the bridge, came online at the end of September. Now Fletcher is working with the state Department of Transportation to create signs directing people to it.

Fletcher said she is purchasing the signage with her own resources, as she did with the phone, and working to get permits to hang them on state property.

The phone itself is on Deception Pass Tours property, after the business’s owners agreed to Fletcher’s pitch to install it. The area is a well-known dead zone for cellphone coverage, which can be problematic in the event of an emergency.

Fletcher said she is particularly aware of the issues this can present in her position as the jail medical director, a health care provider and a member of a suicide prevention task force.

“I am inserted into the Island County Sheriff’s department, I work closely with the hospital and inmates,” she said.

Fletcher said she often works with people in crisis and is hoping that the phone will both be helpful after car accidents, if someone is injured, or if someone is contemplating suicide.

The phone only dials 911, but the dispatcher will transfer someone to a suicide crisis line if requested to do so.

“I was just trying to bring a little bit of convenience for our community and help them be able to reach out in a time of need,” Fletcher said.

Her goal is to have the signs purchased and installed by the end of November.