Beach numbers aid rescue

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Middleton Beach jetty.
Camera IconMiddleton Beach jetty. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Vital communication between beachgoers and emergency services will be given a boost in the coming weeks, as a system of location beacons is installed at beaches around Albany.

As part of the system, 95 uniquely coded signs will be installed at swimming spots around Albany, providing visitors with an identification number for emergency services in the event of a call-out.

Named after Ben Gerring, who died in a shark attack in 2016, the Beach Emergency Numbers system will allow emergency crews to pinpoint the caller’s location.

City of Albany reserves manager Jacqui Freeman said the signage would be useful in 000 calls.

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“If possible, wait at the beach entry point until emergency services arrive,” she said.

“Beach Emergency Number signs can also be referred to when reporting shark sightings to the Water Police on 9442 8600.”

The signs are expected to be installed by mid-June.

In an emergency at points where signs are not being installed, use of the Emergency+ smartphone app was recommended because it provides GPS locations from callers to emergency services.

The BEN system was funded by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries with support from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

The locations of signs will be mapped on sharksmart.com.au as they are turned on.

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