BEN signs for City’s coastline

09 June 2022

The City’s ongoing focus on providing a safer beach environment for the community has recently been enhanced through the installation of Beach Emergency Numbers (BEN) signs along the coastline to help improve emergency response times.

From Peasholm Dog Beach in the City’s south, to Watermans Bay in the north, 73 new signs are being installed at each beach entry point along the City’s 7km coastline.

Each sign is uniform red and green, with a unique code linked to coordinates for its location as well as the address and nearest intersection. This allows 000 callers to provide emergency services with accurate location information so police or ambulance services can then be immediately deployed in the event of a shark sighting, attack or other beach emergency.

The concept for the signs came about after Rick Gerring tragically lost his brother Ben after a shark incident on Falcon Beach in 2016. He championed the signs to reduce the risk of confusion and delays in emergency response times on WA beaches. The first signs were developed and installed by the City of Mandurah in May 2017 with the State Government announcing a grants scheme for the rest of the south-west later that year.

Mayor Mark Irwin said the City understood BEN signs across WA had already been delivering significant community benefit and that local efforts for beach safety would be greatly aided by the new signs.

“Our Beach Services team respond to incidents on City of Stirling beaches year-round and the BEN signs will be a critical tool to help them and other community members to provide emergency services with accurate locations as fast as possible,” he said.

“The City has many measures in place to create a safer beach environment for everyone on our beaches and these signs mean that the community can also play a role in safety by learning about the BEN signs, taking note of where they are, and understanding what to do in an emergency situation.”

With the installation of these 73 signs in the City of Stirling, there will be nearly 1,500 BEN signs in place across WA.

The City’s Beach Inspectors and Beach Lifeguards provide a responsive professional beach safety service 7 days a week, 365 days a year, making the City the only local government with its own year-round beach safety patrols. This includes the provision of flagged swimming areas and manning the Lookout Towers at the City’s beaches by lifeguard professionals.

Furthermore, volunteer surf life savers from the Scarboro and Trigg Island SLSCs undertake beach patrols on weekends and Public Holidays from the beginning of October to the end of March, complementing the City’s Professional Beach Services team.

From April 2021 to April 2022, the City’s Beach Inspectors and Beach Lifeguards performed a total of 170 rescues, 180 first aid treatments and three resuscitations.

Minister for Fisheries Don Punch MLA:

“The installation of BEN signs by the City of Stirling at its wonderful beaches makes an important milestone in the McGowan Government's BEN signs program - completing the rollout of signs along the Perth metropolitan coast.

“BEN signs have become an important part of beach safety, helping to pinpoint a person's location in an emergency situation to get help there as quickly as possible.

“The State Government has invested more than half a million dollars into the BEN signs program, with more than 1400 BEN signs now in place at beaches between the Midwest and Esperance.”

How it works:
In case of an emergency, call 000 and quote the unique code and location information on the nearest BEN sign to emergency services. Where possible, someone should wait at the BEN sign until emergency service crews arrive.

If you see a shark, report it to Water Police on (08) 9442 8600 and refer to the closest BEN sign.

More information on the locations of BEN signs and beach safety information can be found online by downloading the SharkSmart app (which provides BEN sign locations and real-time beach safety updates), or visit the beaches page.

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