Disposing of old EPIRBs correctly

GLADSTONE region residents are being reminded to do the right thing by safely disposing of their old EPIRBs and boat flares.

Illegal dumping and storing of these expired items has resulted in the activation of some emergency response beacons and spot fires at council's local landfill.

It has been confirmed that unnecessary manpower has been wasted this year on searching for EPIRBs which have been activated accidentally as a result of being buried in landfill or rubbish bins, or through moisture and corrosion.

Gladstone District Water Police officer-in-charge Sergeant Jeff Barnett said there can be quite a considerable expense and a waste of resources involved in responding to these false alarms.

Sergeant Barnett said a number of false EPIRB activations had occurred across the region.

“On average we get one every couple of months,” Sgt Barnett said.

“This can be a very expensive and timely exercise when a helicopter and personnel are deployed to search for an EPIRB which is pinging underground or amongst debris.

“It negates a legitimate event,” he said.

Sgt Barnett confirmed false EPIRB activations had occurred in Thangool, Turkey Beach and Gladstone this year.

He said in one incident many hours had been spent searching to find the activated EPIRB in the bin of a shed in Turkey Beach.

“When the new 406 EPIRBs came online last year it resulted in some owners of the old 121 models not disposing of them correctly,” Sgt Barnett said.

“You risk a big fine if you are found to have activated an EPIRB deliberately and we can prove it.”

Gladstone Regional Council has confirmed flares dumped into the waste stream have caused spot fires after finding their way into council's landfill.

Likewise, the activation of EPIRBs buried in the landfill has caused unnecessary alarm for safety authorities.

Sgt Barnett said both situations were avoidable as expired boat flares and EPIRBs can be disposed of for free locally.

Expired boat flares can be disposed of at Gladstone Volunteer Marine Rescue Service in Goondoon Street.

Old EPIRBs can be disposed of at Battery World, Auckland Street, or through Gladstone District Water Police.



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