Emergency panic button to be installed at Fingal
AN EMERGENCY panic button which instantly calls triple zero is being explored as one of several new safety measures to prevent drownings at the notoriously dangerous Dreamtime Beach.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest said he was working with Surf Life Saving NSW to investigate the technology which would be solar powered and cemented into the headland at Fingal.
Mr Provest said the device had previously been used in Queensland and was one of many new safety measures being looked at.
He said Fingal Surf Life Saving Club has already installed flotation devices, an emergency beacon and portable defibrillator as part of an increased strategy to prevent drownings.
Four people have died while swimming at Fingal in less than three years, leading to calls for lifesaving flotation devices or "angel rings” to be installed.
The most recent death was that of 22-year-old Japanese backpacker Tomoe Ogisu on February 8.
State Government officials signed paperwork to install the buoys just days after Mr Ogisu's death, but four months later they have still not been installed due to red tape and a shortage of the flotation devices.
Mr Provest said he was "disappointed” they had not yet been installed.
"We've been working heavily with all of the agencies and in particular the Tweed Byron Aboriginal Land Council because of the cultural sensitivity of Fingal Headland,” he said.
Mr Provest said he was "assured” the process was underway and the Fingal Surf Life Saving Club had used GPS technology to pinpoint where the buoys would go.
He said he expected the flotation devices to be installed "in the next four to five weeks”.
But Mr Provest said the new flotation devices should not lead to complacency.
"Even with these angel rings, do not let that give you a false sense of security, it's an extraordinarily dangerous stretch, it's not going to save everyone, but it's just a small step we can do,” he said.