Beach Emergency Number signs revealed for Perth beaches

In deliverance of a McGowan Government election commitment, the City of Kwinana was proud to reveal one of nine Beach Emergency Number (BEN) signs today at Wells Park.

Being the first of more than 1,000 BEN signs, it’s anticipated to strengthen emergency responses should a serious incident occur.

Each sign features a unique code, pinpointing that particular beach access location for emergency services called out.

Carole Adams, Mayor of City of Kwinana, said these signs are so important and will play a vital role in beach safety particularly during summer.

A fatal shark attack in Falcon in 2016 saw local Ben Gerring tragically pass away.

Rick Gerring, Ben’s brother, played an instrumental role in the implementation of the signs after concerns about possible delays in attending emergency services trying to locate the closest beach access point.

“I think we must not forget the sign came out of the tragic death of Ben Gerring,”

“His brother rick has been advocating for these signs, devising and working with the government. Of course if we can save lives, any lives through the use of these signs there of tremendous value,” Ms Adams said.

The BEN sign program was announced in 2017 with the government offering grants of up to $25,000 for eligible metropolitan councils, and $50,000 for eligible regional councils.

Since then, 29 out of 32 local government authorities have expressed interest in the signage, with 26 currently working with the WA Government.

The City of Kwinana is the first metropolitan council to install the BEN signs through the McGowan Government grant scheme.

These lifesaving signs compliments the State Government’s shark mitigation strategy, including funding for Surf Life Saving WA beaches, helicopter and drone patrols, a world first person shark deterrent subsidy for divers and surfers, beach enclosures, an extended Shark Monitoring Network to Esperance, tagging operations and a new SMART drumline trial off Gracetown.

“I suppose you can’t always prevent accidents but you can get the emergency services here much quicker if people know the exact location,”

“If it’s a life saving accident, then time is critical,” Ms Adams said.

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