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In late 2017 Greenhills Beach in the Sutherland Shire became one of a handful of beaches in NSW to host an Emergency Rescue Beacon (ERB). That decision has proved to be a fruitful one as an incident on the opening weekend of the patrol season highlighted.

Last Saturday at around 7:30am two surfers were walking along the unpatrolled beach near Don Lucas Reserve when they came across a woman in her 60s in severe distress.

They ascertained that the woman had been out for a walk when she slipped and in the process severely damaged her ankle.

Knowing that the ERB was just metres behind them and that it was designed for quick communication with emergency services in situations such as this the surfers deployed the button.

The witnesses relayed the information that they believed the injured woman had suffered a broken ankle to the State Operations Centre who tasked Sutherland Shire Lifeguards to attend.

Within minutes the Lifeguards who had also received a notification of the ERB being activated were on the scene and administering pain management to the woman.

Sutherland Shire Council Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Manager Brett Richardson felt that the incident underscored the importance of the ERB to the community.

“It’s very pleasing that locals are not only aware that this form of assistance is available but they are confident in using it,” said Mr Richardson.

“While the ERB has been placed here for emergency use in coastal situations it can also be used to alert lifeguards to any incident on the beach.

“The prompt response from the lifeguards to the woman’s injuries was made possible due to this communication process, and from our perspective is a great outcome,” he said.

Weighing in at approximately 18 kilograms and utilising a 3G voice intercom, SMS functionality, and a camera the technical aspects of the machine are impressive.

In an emergency situation the button can be depressed by a witness and instantly connects with the State Operations Centre on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

A text message is also sent to the nearest lifesavers and lifeguards which alerts them to the situation.

Following initial treatment from the lifeguards the woman was later transported to hospital by ambulance.


Tuesday 2 October 2018