Beaches in Western Australia will be safer this summer with the introduction of digital mobile radios that eliminate communication black spots for surf lifesavers along the coast.
In WA, December, January and February experience the highest rates of hospitalisations due to drowning as many people head to our beaches to escape the heat. It is during these months that organisations such as Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) are required to operate at maximum capacity in order to prevent lives being lost due to drowning.
Effective communications between surf lifesavers when patrolling and responding to emergency situations is therefore of the utmost importance. Black spots in communications in some areas can limit the ability for surf lifesavers to coordinate their actions and compromises their own safety as well as that of beach goers.
The purchase of digital mobile radios to assist surf lifesavers to eliminate black spots along the coast , was made possible by a partnership between Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) and BHP Billiton.
The digital mobile radios are a significant upgrade from the older, analogue network and eliminate areas of compromised communications from Esperance to Yanchep.
The metropolitan area, the South West and the Great Southern regions of WA have been identified as having the top three age-standardised rates for hospitalisations due to drowning in WA.
This new technology will provide surf lifesavers with reliable, operational communications coverage over a greater area than ever before and will increase safety levels and response times in emergencies.
SLSWA General Manager, Chris Peck, acknowledged that the new communications network would not have been possible without the financial backing of BHP.
“This is a state of the art resource and one we could only have dreamed about had BHP Billiton not stepped forward with their partnership”.
The technology upgrade also acts to improve inter-operability with SLSWA and other rescue bodies such as the WA Water Police.
The upgraded network will also allow SLSWA to expand more easily to meet the demand for its services along WA’s rapidly growing coastal population.
“Thanks to this partnership, we are better able to protect out emergency response personnel as they put their lives on the line to serve the community”, said Mr Peck.
For more information about the impact of drowning in Western Australia visit the Knowledge Hub: http://knowinjury.org.au/know/drowning/
Visit the Surf Life Saving WA website here: http://surflifesavingwa.com.au/