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BEN signs installed at Rockingham beaches

City of Rockingham CEO Michael Parker, Mayor Barry Sammels and Premier Mark McGowan display one of the BEN Signs that will be rolled out at beaches across the City. Picture: City of Rockingham.

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).

Tex Reeks

Texas (Tex) Reeks is a video journalist and national award-winning news photographer. Reeks' dedication and commitment to local news media and telling stories has seen him build an extensive portfolio in Western Australia's news industry from a young age. Writing online stories and covering news events for Perth's mainstream media networks, Reeks, has covered and broken some of WA's biggest breaking news stories including shark attacks, police manhunts, plane crashes, major crime investigations, and major political incidents. Reek's interest and knowledge in criminology and policing results in his focus on crime and court stories.
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