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DAILY shark patrols will begin next month as part of a $1.1million plan by Surf Lifesaving WA to keep beachgoers safe this summer.

Surf Lifesaving spokesman Chris Peck said $500,000 would be spent keeping the Westpac rescue helicopter in the air for three hours every day from mid-December to the end of February.  This year’s safety plan also included spending $600,000 on 30 emergency response points at secluded beaches and 27 beach surveillance cameras. And 4300 lifesavers will patrol beaches.

It is a significant investment in using technologies to combat coastal incidents, Mr Peck said.  It is the biggest presence we have ever had. Mr Peck said the State Government had agreed to provide thousands of dollars to help operate daily helicopter patrols.  The helicopter will fly for three hours between 6.30am and 2pm.

He said the public wanted more beach patrols in summer, with many people unhappy that aerial shark patrols had operated only on weekends and public holidays.  Mr Peck said ideally aerial patrols would operate five hours a day, but there wasn’t enough money to keep the helicopter in the air longer.

I think the pressure probably came from the public to have a service mid-week, he said.  The fact that something is up there (the helicopter) looking after them gives people a sense of security.  I would have liked another two hours so that we were flying five hours a day.  It would have enabled us to spread our patrol coverage a little more broadly.

Mr Peck said the use of emergency response points and surveillance cameras would help save lives. The response points are like emergency freeway phones.  Beachgoers can push the button and say to an operator I have seen a shark, someone is caught in a rip so we can get a team to that beach quickly he said.  The beach surveillance cameras don’t just take images, they gather data.  Whether it’s looking for sharks or missing people in the water, it has the functionality to assist as a third eye.

Source www.news.com.au

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Shopping centres in Perth are handing out cards warning youths they could be banned from the venues in a bid to crack down on antisocial behaviour.
   
Security guards at Westfield’s Innaloo, Carousel and Whitford City centres also carry photographs of those already banned.

The youth cards  introduced at the beginning of the year  were not a punishment and were available to all members of the public on request.
   
The cards warned teenagers what behaviour was expected of them, how they could expect to be treated by security guards and the consequences of antisocial behaviour — including bans of 24 hours to six months.
    
Youths are encouraged at the centres but they should not detract from other people’s safety or comfort. Currently there are no serious problems with youths at the shopping centres.
   
Security guards carried photographs of banned youths so they could be easily recognised if they returned before permitted.   

Ms Laschon said shopping centres were a natural, safe meeting place for people of all ages. She said the conditions of Westfield’s youth cards should apply to all shoppers.
   
“The whole idea of screaming at the top of your voice and running around happens with lots of people at the beginning of sale time. It’s not only teenagers that get excited,” she said. 
  
AMP Capital Shopping Centres communication manager Scott Gillespie said the company’s Karrinyup, Garden City and Ocean Keys complexes did not have a similar system in place.

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Relief is on the way for stranded holidaymakers on Rottnest Island after a major ferry service decided to brave dubious weather conditions this weekend.

Rottnest Express had cancelled services until Monday, after forecasts of gale-force winds. It left up to 200 people stranded on the island until at least Monday, after the other operator, Oceanic Express, also decided against taking to the sea this weekend.

But Rottnest Express today decided to run skeleton services this weekend, with four trips to the island, and two back, tomorrow and Sunday.

Chief executive Tim Crosland said the company believed it had an obligation to always provide services “if safe”.

Each scheduled journey would be assessed on the prevailing weather conditions, he said.

Oceanic Express is running a service today for pre-booked passengers.

Source www.watoday.com.au

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Firemen will work through the night to clear petrol from the scene of a massive explosion at a petrol station in the Perth suburb of Maddington.

A petrol tanker exploded at the Caltex station, starting a fire that destroyed parts of the vehicle, the roof of the forecourt and the shop front.article-fire-pic-420x0

A Fire and Emergency Services Authority spokesman told AAP the fire was brought quickly under control by firefighters.

“The focus is now on making the scene safe, which is a very important task,” the spokesman said.

“There was a fair bit of damage to the majority of the building.”

Petrol still left in the 40,000-litre tanker will be drained into another tanker, while specialists work to recover any water that may have been contaminated by the unleaded petrol.

About a quarter of the petrol in the tanker burnt in the fire.

Homes and businesses, including a suburban shopping centre, within a 500-metre radius of the station have been evacuated.

Residents will not be allowed to return until authorities are confident the area is safe and there is no petrol left to ignite.

That is likely to be sometime late on Friday night, the spokesman said.

No one was injured in the incident.

“It is great news. Fire authorities were called very quickly, and they got to the scene in a good time, meaning there were no injuries.

“There were people on the forecourt, in the shop, and of course the tanker driver,” the spokesman said.

The truck will not be removed until Saturday, while the investigation into why the fire started will continue for a few days.

www.news.ninemsn.com.au article

www.watoday.com.au Ben White photo

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