Sign instigator makes sense of signage

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An Arran Banner correspondent whose letter was recently published questioning the value and usefulness of  Coastguard signage – which has been installed around Arran’s coasts – has received an explanation from the instigator of the signage project.

David Lang, made it clear in his letter that no one would object to reasonable safety measures that increase safety and reduce risk but questioned whether it was a waste of time and tax payer’s money and that it all seemed to be part of a ‘bigger national move to put signs up everywhere, at every opportunity, regardless of cost and aesthetics.’

Kevin Paterson, Station Officer of the Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team said: ‘ I am the person who instigated the project across North Ayrshire working in close partnership with North Ayrshire Council as part of the #KnowWhoToCall campaign undertaken last year by the Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team.

‘At present, it’s estimated that around 50 per cent of the UK population don’t know who to call in an emergency at the coast with many people also unaware that the Coastguard is contacted via the emergency 999 system.

‘Seconds count in an emergency at the coast and any delay in the correct resources getting tasked to an incident can have a significant impact on the overall outcome. The signs have been strategically located to key areas where Coastguard assistance would be required if an emergency incident was to take place. The Coastguard Rescue Service has a wide range of operational capabilities and responsibilities which go beyond just dealing with incidents in the water.

‘It is relatively common place for people to default to contacting the Police for all manner of emergencies as opposed to contacting the most appropriate emergency service to deal with said emergency. Ultimately other agencies are notified and attend however this will always lead to some form of time delay which can have obvious implications.

‘The advice is relatively straight forward and that’s if there’s someone at risk or in difficulty along the coast or out at sea then it is always dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

David, in his letter, questioned whether there was anyone in the UK who did not know to call 999 in the event of an emergency, including visitors, and questioned the necessity of the signs, ending his letter by saying: ‘Common sense is always going to be better than any amount of signs.’