- Over 100 new Beach Emergency Numbers signs to be in place by Christmas
- At least 250 more signs to follow in the new year
- Local government shows strong support for program
Beach safety will be given a further boost this summer with more than 100 new Beach Emergency Numbers (BEN) signs to be in place by the end of the year.
The McGowan Government's BEN sign program commenced in December 2017, as an initiative of Rick Gerring, brother of Ben Gerring who lost his life after a shark bite incident in 2016. At the time, there were concerns about emergency services locating the closest beach access point.
Each BEN sign has a unique code to help emergency services pinpoint exact locations and improve crucial response times for a range of potentially serious incidents.
This summer BEN signs are to be installed in the cities of Busselton, Mandurah, Joondalup, Bunbury and Nedlands; and the shires of Augusta-Margaret River and Coorow with other local governments to follow.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has been working closely with eligible local government authorities and other stakeholders to rollout the program, with the goal to eventually have more than 1,100 signs in place from Geraldton to Esperance.
To date, 27 of the 32 eligible local government authorities have been actively working to map sign locations and prepare grant applications.
This summer, the State Government is encouraging all Western Australians to bring their sea sense to the beach to help keep them safe. Sea sense means things such as checking the SharkSmart website for shark activity, abiding by beach closures and warnings, finding your nearest patrolled beach, or using a scientifically proven personal shark deterrent if you are a surfer or diver.
More information is available at http://www.sharksmart.com.au/shark-activity
Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly:
"I am pleased to see strong support for this McGowan Government project. It is great to see local government authorities collaborating with the State Government to improve beach safety along our beautiful coastline.
"WA has an extensive coastline with many metropolitan beaches and remote and regional locations, at time making beach access locations hard to find.
"To have signs in place for this summer in the Capes area, beginning with Augusta-Margaret River, is a boost to beach safety in the area and could be vital in saving lives.
"In the event of an emergency, the public can call triple zero and quote the BEN sign number with confidence that emergency services will reach the destination as quickly as possible."
Minister's office - 6552 6100