Leading Australian electronics designer and manufacturer, Benbro Electronics recently won the prestigious 2010 Safer Communities Award for their safety campaign initiative.
Benbro Electronics received the award for their ‘Think Before You TREK’ safety campaign initiative.
The Australian Safer Communities Award recognises and encourages outstanding practice and innovation by organisations involved in emergency management and protecting the community.
The Safer Communities Awards are open to agencies in the Federal and State emergency management sector, as well as business, local government, research, community and volunteer-based organisations.
According to Mr Steve Whan, Emergencies Services Minister, the Awards, now in their 11th year showcase Australia’s expertise in preventing, planning for and responding to natural disasters and other emergencies.
The brainchild of John Bennett, Technical Director of Benbro, an avid bushwalker himself, the ‘Think Before You TREK’ safety campaign was established in co-operation with the Police Rescue Services and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The safety campaign promotes and encourages safe outdoor adventure by making technology such as Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) accessible, and encouraging people to register before heading into the bush.
Key features of the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons:
- Pocket-sized, digital emergency beacons
- Alerts authorities to within 50m of a bushwalker's position once activated
- Incorporates GPS technology to raise the alarm and identify the user's position
The free-loan radio beacons are available to bushwalkers who register their trip at the National Parks and Wildlife Centre at Blackheath or the police stations at Springwood and Katoomba.
John advises bushwalkers to carry adequate water and food supplies, appropriate clothing, first aid gear, a map and a compass in addition to an emergency beacon.
Since the initiative was implemented 18 months ago, the 40 emergency beacons have been loaned out 800 times and have helped facilitate seven rescues.
On receiving the Safer Communities Award, John explained that it was an honour to be officially recognised for helping initiate the scheme and sponsoring the beacons.
John is satisfied that bushwalkers are making use of the beacons and that the electronic emergency devices have helped encourage safer bushwalking practices while minimising the opportunity for loss of life.
John together with the Police Rescue Services and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, are currently working on having the scheme extended state-wide.