City keen on beach signs for emergencies
Beach identification signage to improve emergency response efficiency has drawn support in the State Government’s recently unveiled shark mitigation strategy and will be pursued by the City of Busselton.
The strategy involves grants up to $50,000 for regional councils to support installation of the system, dubbed Beach Emergency Numbers — an acronym created in memory of fatal shark attack victim Ben Gerring.
City officers were briefed on the system late last year and have since concluded the system is worth pursuing in the Capes.
“The City believes that the Beach Emergency Numbering system has merit and intends to work with the relevant State agencies to investigate the system further,” City chief executive Mike Archer said.
“While it is anticipated that the City will be eligible to apply for grant funding, funding guidelines are not yet available and therefore will need to be considered when further details on funding are accessible.”
The system identifies all ocean access points with a code to quickly direct emergency services after a triple-0 call, and was installed within City of Mandurah boundaries last month.
It is one component of the Government’s shark strategy, which also includes a trial rebate of $200 for 1000 shark deterrent devices and drone monitoring of beaches, among other initiatives.
Vasse MLA Libby Mettam told the Times she had written to the City and the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, urging them to seek funding for the BEN system, and highlighted the importance of community consultation on the system’s rollout.
“It is important that these signs are in place along the whole WA coastline given the confusion that can be created in an emergency when a local or tourist has to explain exactly where they are and time is critical,” she said.
Ms Mettam supported drone monitoring and said she would push for a trial in the Capes but slammed the rebate as “not an effective approach to this complex issue”.
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