Students at Comet Bay Primary School learnt about how to keep safe at Western Australia’s beaches, after they met the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter crew this morning.
Surf Life Saving WA’s Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service has provided a free community service to West Australians for the past 12 years.
Operating from its bases in Fremantle and Busselton, the helicopter carries out search and rescue missions, beach patrols and aerial surveillance.
Amy Hodgson, Westpac Regional General Manager WA South, said students heard first-hand from the crew who dedicate their lives to helping others in the community when they need it most.
“Westpac is proud to support the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service and help educate our young West Australians about emergency services in their local community,” she says.
“In bringing the Westpac chopper to Comet Bay Primary School, the WA Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter crew will provide important safety tips and advice on how students can avoid getting into danger at local beaches and stay safe during an emergency.
“The session is great fun and interactive, as students can watch the helicopter land at their school, then ask the crew and pilot specific questions about flying, rescues and beach patrols.
“They also see close-up, the state-of-the-art lifesaving equipment designed to help the crew deal with emergency situations.”
In Western Australia, coastal and ocean drowning deaths are currently up 110% compared to this time last year, with 21 fatalities.
So far this season, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter services in WA have conducted 654 patrols over 748 hours.
Timothy Gleeson has been a Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter crew member for two seasons and admits it’s very rewarding to work in a role to help keep West Australians safe at the beach.
“Delivering important water safety messages is what today is all about. The kids often have many questions for us and are thrilled to see the helicopter land and take off at their school," he said.
“It’s great to be able to educate primary school children about how to stay safe when visiting the beach, what to do during an emergency and the important role of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter and emergency services within the community.”
The service is operational every patrol season from September until April patrolling from Mandurah to Yanchep and east to Rottnest Island and between Bunbury and Hamelin Bay.
Students can also access the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Schools Program app, which provides fun and engaging digital educational activities.