IN HONOUR of his brother Ben, Rick Gerring joined Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly to unveil the first of 1000 Beach Emergency Numbers (BEN) at Wells Park, Kwinana Beach today.
Ben Gerring tragically died after being attacked by a shark at a Falcon beach in 2016.
Initiated by Rick Gerring, the BEN signs are easily accessible at each beach where they have been rolled out.
They have a unique code so emergency services can pinpoint exact beach access locations and improve crucial response times for a range of potential serious incidents.
“It’s been amazing week for shark mitigation, Westpac are doing surf lifesaving for another five years, the smart lines in Gracetown and the rollout of BENs signage,” he said.
“The signs will make a massive difference to our community – having standard signs along the coast people can easily identify so they can alert emergency services and give an exact location of an incident, greatly reducing emergency response time,” he said.
“They are so simple but will make a massive difference to someone’s life.
“Although nothing can ever bring my brother Ben back, knowing that the BEN signage will save many lives gives me some closure and him a legacy that will never be forgotten.”
MLA Roger Cook and City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams were also at the unveiling where the sign is one of nine for the Kwinana and Naval Base coast.
“It is vital that emergency responders know exactly where (emergencies) are as quickly as possible,” Mayor Adams said.
“By quoting the nearest BEN sign code, 000 callers will help first responders to accurately pinpoint the exact location of an emergency.
“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 can also be used for reporting shark sightings to Water Police on 9442 8600, allowing beach managers to apply beach closures earlier if needed.
The City of Kwinana were able to implement the signs through the State Government’s grants scheme, while the Shire of Waroona is the first regional council with three BEN signs now in place at Preston Beach.
The City of Mandurah independently installed 81 BEN signs in honour of Mr Gerring in May 2017.
Grants of up to $25,000 for eligible metropolitan councils, and up to $50,000 for eligible regional councils, to install the life-saving signage are available through the State Government.
More than 1000 BEN signs are planned for WA’s coast from Geraldton to Esperance.