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17/08/2018 10:00 a.m.
17 August 2018
The City of Kwinana has received funding from the State Government to install Beach Emergency Numbers (BEN) signs to improve emergency response times at local beaches.
The BEN system was named in honour of Ben Gerring, who lost his life in a fatal shark attack in Mandurah in 2016. BEN signs provide specific location information which is vital when emergency services are deployed.
Mayor Carol Adams said the rollout of nine BEN signs, thanks to the support of funding supplied by the State Government, would commence immediately.
"Given that minutes and seconds can mean the difference between life and death in these situations, it is vital that emergency responders know exactly where they are needed as quickly as possible," she said.
"It is hoped that these signs will prevent delays when emergency services are having trouble finding the exact location of a beach emergency."
The BEN Sign Program is a coding system which has been created with a unique prefix and has been seamlessly integrated into systems used by emergency services.
"By quoting the nearest BEN sign code, 000 callers will be able to increase the capacity for first responders to accurately pinpoint the exact location of an emergency," Mayor Adams said.
"I would urge all Kwinana beach users to familiarize themselves with the BEN signs and take note of the unique code on the beach access point they use."
BEN signs may also be referred to when reporting shark sightings to Water Police on 9442 8600. This will enable beach managers to implement beach closures earlier with accurate beach location information.