In an emergency, timeliness in response is of the utmost importance and in some instances can be the difference between life & death. This is when knowing your local BEN could make all the difference.
But what is a BEN?
When visiting some West Aussie beaches, you may have noticed the green and red signs placed at tracks and entrances to the beach. These are called BEN (Beach Emergency Number) signs and feature a BEN code unique to that location.
In the case of an emergency, being able to provide emergency services with this BEN will ensure they can reach your location without critical time wasted in trying to identify your location.
An initiative of Surf Life Saving WA ambassador Rick Gerring, whose brother Ben suffered a fatal shark attack in 2016, the program was launched in late 2017 and, garnering the support of the WA State Government, there are now more than 1,200 BEN signs installed at beaches from 7 Mile in the Shire of Irwin (south of Geraldton) to Point Malcolm, Israelite Bay in the Shire of Esperance.
“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,” said Mr Gerring.
“They are so simple but will make a massive difference to someone’s life.”
Every person should know the BEN of their local or favourite beach and when travelling to an unknown beach, make an effort to seek out the BEN before you head down onto the sand.
We suggest taking a photo of it on your mobile phone, don’t rely on your memory which in an emergency can sometimes fail you!
Do you and your family members know the BEN at your favourite beach?
Find out more about the BEN signs here.