Emergency response to water rescues in Limerick buoyed by GPS

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

EMERGENCY services will respond to marine based incidents even faster thanks to GPS technology.

EMERGENCY services will respond to marine based incidents even faster thanks to GPS technology.

Limerick County Council, in conjunction with Irish Water Safety and Loc8 Code, is operating a pilot programme that will enable persons requiring emergency assistance at any one of 86 ringbuoy locations to point the emergency services to their position. The accuracy is within 6 metres.

Ringbuoys and their holders along the Shannon river and Estuary, Mulcair, Maigue and dozens of other locations popular with members of the public have been fitted with Loc8 codes containing GPS coordinates. The information is accompanied by contact details for the Samaritans to assist in the reduction of suicide through drowning.

Brian Kennedy, water safety development officer, Limerick County Council, said: “Each location has been surveyed and converted into unique Loc8 codes, which feature on large stickers placed on each ringbuoy box and ringbuoy.

“If someone requires emergency assistance at one of the over 80 ringbuoy locations, they call 999 and give the code which enables emergency services to determine their exact location. A smartphone app has been developed allowing the emergency services to ascertain the shortest route to these locations. The code is also compatible with sat nav systems and on the web to help emergency service navigate to the relevant location”.

Mr Kennedy added that the Loc8 codes can also be used by members of the public to report missing or damaged ringbuoys.

The 86 ringbuoy locations featured project include Castletroy, Foynes, Adare, Annacotty, Pallaskenry, Croom, Glin, Loughill, Askeaton, Castleconnell, Lough Gur, Bruree, Athlacca, Cappamore, Clareville, Montpelier, Murroe, Newcastle West, Pallasgreen, Abbeyfeale, Dromkeen, Bruff and Kilmallock.