City of Rockingham beachgoers are now able to guide emergency services to their precise location with ease after the Beach Emergency Numbers (BEN) system was introduced in the City.
The system, which is named in honour of fatal shark bite victim Ben Gerring, is a coding system that is designed to improve emergency response times at beaches by installing signs with unique numbers at beach access points.
The BEN signage is part of a state wide system with more than 650 signs installed so far state-wide between Geraldton and Esperance. Throughout the City of Rockingham, 67 signs will be installed on the mainland with a further 14 installed on Garden Island.
In the event of an emergency anyone is able to ring 000 and quote the nearest BEN sign number which is linked to the GPS co-ordinates for that location.
City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels said the BEN signs could play a critical role in assisting first responders during an emergency situation.
“The City of Rockingham is home to 37 km of pristine coastline and many residents like to take advantage of the wonderful marine environment that is on our doorstep,” mayor Sammels said.
“While many people do enjoy the beach, a number of things can go wrong in the water which is why the new BEN signs are vitally important to helping first responders in an emergency.
“Whether it is a potential shark bite, drowning or surfing injury, the BEN signs will help cut response times to emergencies.”
The rollout of BEN signs across the City was co-ordinated by the City’s Compliance and Emergency Liaison Team and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, with funding for the sign production from the State Government.
An interactive map of BEN signs in the City is available from the SharkSmart website at sharksmart.com.au/shark-activity/
Static maps of BEN signs are available via sharksmart.com.au/staying-safe/beach-emergency-numbers.
This website can also be used to check the latest reported shark sightings and tagged shark detections. Shark sightings should be reported to Water Police on 9442 8600.
(Please note: the BEN Signs will continue to be installed across the City’s beaches until the end of July 2019).