The installation of 73 new emergency number signs on the beach by the City of Stirling will complete the roll-out of the Coastal Safety Initiative along the Perth coast, which began five years ago following a shark attack.
The signs – known as the BEN signs in honor of Ben Gerring, who was attacked while surfing near Mandurah in 2016 – have a unique location code to enable faster response times from crews. ’emergency.
They were first adopted by the city of Mandurah after his brother Rick Gerring’s advocacy, with the state government launching a grant program the following year for local governments to install the panels.
At the time, Mr Gerring said making signs a standard along the coastline would mean people would instantly recognize them during an incident and ‘relieve unnecessary stress trying to communicate with emergency services’.
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“While nothing can ever bring my brother Ben back, knowing that BEN signage will save many lives gives me closure and a legacy that will never be forgotten,” he told PerthNow.
Once installation of the City of Stirling signs is complete, there will be 582 BEN signs in the Perth metropolitan area and 896 in the South West, primarily at beach access points and other coastal areas, including ports, estuaries, boat launches, fishing platforms and jetties, as well as lakes and rivers.
They have helped identify the location of people seeking emergency services, ranging from shark incidents to sea creature stings, diving and surfing accidents, disturbances, welfare checks and search activities and rescue, and help provide specific location when writing shark sighting reports.
Four panels have also been installed as part of the North WA rollout, with over 100 more panels to be installed by the end of the year as part of the next phase of the program.