Getting help there when it is needed

THE INCIDENT LOCATOR program is designed to get emergency resources to the scene of water related and land based incidents on Lake Tapps as quickly and efficiently as possible. When time matters most!

Did you know…

  • Three separate dispatch agencies receive 911 calls for emergencies on Lake Tapps?
    (South Sound 911 in Pierce County, State Patrol, Valley Comm in King County)

  • Four separate agencies regularly respond to emergencies on Lake Tapps?
    (East Pierce Fire & Rescue, Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Bonney Lake Police, and Valley Regional Fire Authority)

How the program works

When an emergency occurs in the water (swimmer, boater, etc.) or on land, the system allows:

  • The caller to quickly identify their specific location by providing the 911 dispatcher the number from the nearest brown and white sign on the dock or shore.
  • The 911 dispatcher to quickly verify location (both street-side address and GPS coordinates) and dispatch the appropriate units
  • Emergency responders to respond efficiently to a confirmed location via predetermined routes
  • All agencies involved to utilize the same simple system to avoid confusion
  • A rapid, effective response that saves valuable time

When 911 receives a call for water related or land based incident, it is often difficult for the dispatcher to quickly determine an accurate location because the “caller doesn’t know where they are.”

The Solution

Waterfront properties have been numbered sequentially and continuously around the lake. Signs with the property's assigned number will be mounted to each dock allowing boaters/swimmers to easily see a number from any point along the shoreline. Where no dock is available, the number sign will be placed on a post or other appropriate location.

How and where the signs will be installed:


  • Signs will be delivered to lake-front parcels in late spring 2021
  • Homeowner mounts sign

There are three sign mounting location options.

  • Dock (preferred)
  • Boathouse
  • Post

We understand the signs must be aesthetically pleasing as well as visible.  The signs are brown with 7" white reflective numbers.  Dimensions 8" x 12"-14" (varies by number of digits)    


How Do I Get A Sign?

What do you need to do to get a sign? Nothing! Working together, East Pierce Fire & Rescue and Cascade Water Alliance are purchasing signs and coordinating delivery for every waterfront parcel on Lake Tapps. Signs with mounting instructions and hardware will be placed in a bag and delivered to your doorstep. Anticipated delivery dates will be in late spring.

For those who have previously requested signs and not yet received them, signs are on the way and will be part of this mass distribution event.

Homeowners are encouraged to post their lake side incident locator sign on their dock, boat house or other highly-visible waterfront location.

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