Preventing Suicide by Jumping: The Effect of a Bridge Safety Fence

After a number of suicides involving people jumping off the Memorial Bridge in Augusta, Maine, an 11-ft high safety fence was installed on each side of the bridge in 1989. Although this fence was removed in 2005 as part of a bridge renovation, the community discussed whether the fence should be reinstalled. This paper reports on a study that evaluated the effectiveness of the bridge safety fence in preventing suicide. The authors examined suicides from jumping off the Memorial Bridge from 1 April 1960 to 31 July 2005. The safety fence was installed during 1983, the mid-point of the study period. A total of 14 suicides from the bridge were identified; all occurred before installation of the safety fence. The number of suicides by jumping from other structures remained unchanged after installation of the fence, suggesting that suicidal individuals did not seek alternative sites for jumping. These findings indicate that the safety fence was effective in preventing suicides from the bridge. Based in part on these findings, current plans call for the bridge fence to be reinstalled.

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  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01044687
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 27 2007 8:42PM