Vancouver police launched a new laneway numbering initiative in the city's Strathcona neighbourhood Thursday in a bid to help first responders do their jobs more effectively.

Dubbed Project Landmark, the program provides free address plates to those living in the area. Residents are then encouraged to display their civic numbers in a highly visible way to assist emergency crews in locating emergency calls in the neighbourhood lanes and alleys.

Deputy Chief Const. Howard Chow highlighted the importance of the numbered plates in emergency response situations.

“Remember, we can’t help you if we can’t find you,” Chow said.

He went on to cite several recent incidents and the lack of precise location markers that hampered the efforts of police, fire and paramedic personnel.

Volunteers from the Strathcona Community Policing Centre will be in the area distributing information cards and the plates.

“Make it visible,” Chow said, "so it's very clear to whomever is walking down the laneway or whoever is pulling up in their police car or fire truck that they see it very clearly.”

Chow is hopeful that the idea will catch on in other surrounding communities.

“We’re hoping that this spreads very quickly, not only here in Vancouver but every community. It's so crucial for public safety and our first responders to be able to find and get to you,” Chow said

A recent Community Policing survey found that 74 per cent of homes did not have laneway address displays.

The program has been funded by the Vancouver Police Foundation, which spearheads and funds public safety initiatives.