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City focuses on summer safety

City focuses on summer safety

North Shore City aims to make it a 'Safe Summer' with a new public information campaign, and the appointment of trained surf life savers to its beach patrol.

Three new officers begin beach patrol duties next week, and will have an expanded role, focussing on public education, as well as policing the city's bylaws. For the first time, the officers will be qualified, experienced life savers.

The patrol is part of the council's Safe Summer campaign, spreading the safety message through newspaper and radio ads, posters, flyers, website information - and personal intervention. It will promote not only beach and pool safety, but also safety messages around food and dogs, and first aid.

North Shore City environmental protection team leader, Warwick Robertson, says the campaign's aims are two-fold; to raise public awareness of summer safety issues, and to strengthen relationships with safety agencies and emergency services.

"The beach patrol officers are not there to do the job of surf life saving, or the coastguard - they are there to communicate and advise; to prevent dangerous situations occurring."

The trio will attend all major summer events, including the Shore Sounds series of concerts and the Summer Fun events, handing out giveaways and talking to the public. Patrolling the city's beaches seven days a week, they will work both independently and as a team, depending on the need, says Mr Robertson.

"Summer is a fun time, but it also has its dangers, particularly around water. What we consider to be safe swimming beaches can also be lethal," he says.

"We want to do our part to prevent the type of tragedies that have occurred in the past few years. These are simple safety messages, but they could save a life."

In addition to the beach patrol officers, the council also employs contracted dog patrol officers and a dedicated dog beach patrol officer.

The beach patrol will run until Easter next year.

Summer safety information will be available online at the council's website www.northshorecity.govt.nz

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