Topics:  coffs harbour city council, emergency personal locator beacons, lifeguards

Beacons to keep lifeguards safe

©iStockphoto/syagci

COUNCIL has taken an important step in ensuring the safety of its lifeguards by purchasing two Emergency Personal Locator Beacons (EPIRBs) for use on rescue craft.

Council's Lifeguard Coordinator Greg Hackfath said that the purchase is a vital one in ensuring a quick response in a worst case scenario.

"When travelling out to sea in any craft, you never know when something may happen," Mr Hackfath said.

"Our lifeguards perform rescues as far out as 1.5 km offshore - sometimes in fading light - so with these units, we know we'll have an immediate response in a critical situation.

"It could mean the difference between being rescued or perishing in a serious accident.

"Having an EPIRB gives our Lifeguards the added peace of mind that they are as safe as they can be when they go into the water to help others."

The EPIRBs have the latest frequency - 406 MHz - for emergency location.

They are small enough to fit in a pocket, or can be fitted to each Lifeguard Power Craft Operator's life-jacket.

The units have a 16-Channel parallel GPS receiver to improve location accuracy to within 100 metres - this means faster and more accurate detection and a reduced search area in a life-threatening situation.

They are also waterproof, have a seven-year battery life and a high-intensity flashing LED light.

Meanwhile Council's Lifeguards are currently ensuring the safety of swimmers for the remainder of the school holidays.

Lifeguards are patrolling at Sawtell Beach, Park Beach, Diggers Beach and Woolgoolga Beach every weekday this week from 9am to 4pm.

Local surf life saving clubs are also currently patrolling at weekends at Sawtell Beach, Park Beach, Woolgoolga Beach and Red Rock Beach.



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