Emergency number success in boosting South West beach rescues

Augusta Margaret River Times
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New beach emergency numbers are already playing a key role in dramatic rescues in the Capes region.

In February, Augusta-Margaret River State Emergency Service crews were guided to an injured surfer near Gracetown, thanks to the beach emergency numbers.

The insight comes as Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly pointed this week to the continued roll-out of more than 500 planned identification signs along WA beaches.

“Beach emergency number signs along the WA coast are proving vital for our first responders to get to emergency situations,” he said. “From surfing injuries to shark bites, BEN signs can help cut response times to emergencies.

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“No matter what the emergency is, getting the right help sooner is vital. Anyone can ring triple-0 and quote the nearest BEN sign number to help save another person’s life.”

Examples of its success included the case off South Point on February 21 when a surfer suffered suspected spinal injuries and BEN signs were used to identify the remote break in a report via triple-0.

Paramedics and SES personnel were able to quickly attend the scene and transport the injured patient to hospital for treatment.

The local SES said the new signs were very welcome.

“These signs provide a unique number and detailed address for many of our local beaches,” a spokesperson said.

“Next time you’re near the coast, keep an eye out for these signs. They might just save your life.”

The BEN were compared to bus stops allowing quick identification of locations for emergency workers.

The WA Government said since May, more than 100 requests for police assistance and 20 requests for St John Ambulance via triple-0 calls were logged where BEN signs “proved key in getting first responders to an emergency quickly”.

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