The Beach Emergency Numbers (BEN) system – named in honour of fatal shark bite victim Ben Gerring – is a coding system that aims to improve emergency response times by installing signs with unique codes at public beach access points. These signs provide specific location information, vital when emergency services are deployed in the event of a shark sighting, attack or other beach emergencies. The program was initially implemented by the City of Mandurah. In December 2017, the Western Australian Government launched a grants program to provide funding for local government authorities (LGAs) to install BEN signs along the coast from Geraldton to the South Australian border. The grants program was then extended in December 2020 to include coastal LGAs north of Geraldton to Kununurra, making the program accessible statewide. The grants program has been developed and coordinated by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), which has also provided support to LGAs in the development of their grant applications. Signs are primarily located at beach access points determined by the LGA in consultation with DPIRD, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and relevant stakeholders. BEN sign coordinates and data can be downloaded from data.wa.gov.au
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