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Surf Lifesavers joined government and local representatives at Fingal’s Dreamtime Beach today to launch the state’s first-ever permanent Emergency Response Beacon (ERB).

The ERB has been positioned as the northern end of the unpatrolled beach, although arguably Dreamtime’s beauty belies its sad past been as the centre of a number of tragedies.

Since 2009 there have been at least 6 drowning deaths in the Fingal/Dreamtime area, and this includes a number of high profile incidents.

Over the last 12 months the Surf Life Saving community has been liaising closely with the NSW Government, Tweed Shire Council, and the Aboriginal Land Council in an effort to come up with a solution to help the beach going public should they get into distress.

That process has cumulated in the installation of the ERB, made possible thanks to generous grants from the State Government.

Boasting direct communication with the Surf Life Saving State Operations Centre in Sydney, solar panels for power, and camera capability which allows operators to view an incident, the aim of this lifesaving device is to streamline and shorten response times to coastal emergencies.

All it requires is a touch of the button and the appropriate assets can be tasked to attend.

Member for Tweed Geoff Provest believes the installation of the device marks an important milestone for the local community.

“The ERB not only complements the Angel Rings that are already in place here at Dreamtime Beach, but reinforces the importance of technology in providing surveillance to the NSW coastline.

“It is important to note that the ERB alone will not make swimming conditions safer here at this unpatrolled location. I would urge all beachgoers to heed the warnings that are delivered each summer and swim between those red and yellow flags,” said Mr Provest.

Surf Life Saving NSW Chief Operating Officer Phil Ayres said the organisation will be monitoring the use of the ERB extremely closely over the peak summer season.

“We have every confidence in the technology and feel that it will play an important role in helping lifesaving assets respond to coastal emergencies in the vicinity,” Mr Ayres said on Friday.

“What we need to make clear is that while this ERB is a prototype it is also making history as the first of its type in NSW.

“Surf Life Saving NSW is committed to research and development to ensure this technology continues to serve the community. Our intention is to roll out ERBs at beaches across the state in the coming seasons,” Mr Ayres concluded.

Scott McCartney (ALS), Adam Wright (Salt SLSC), Brent Lethbridge (ALS), Stewart Brawley (Tweed Shire Council), David Rope (FNC Branch), Phil Ayres (SLSNSW), and Geoff Provest MP (Member for Tweed) are pictured at the launch of the Dreamtime Beach Emergency Response Beacon

The ERB will complement the Angel Ring already in place in the area 

A touch of the button connects the member of the public to the State Operations Centre in Sydney from where lifesaving assets can be immediately tasked to attend


Friday 16 November 2018