October 31 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Sirens sounded at Cromer today as lifeboat officials tested a new system alerting the public to launches.
The aim is to replace the firing of maroons which stopped several years ago due to safety concerns.
Cromer lifeboat operations manager Richard Leeds said the station was keen to have an alert system which both helped clear the way for launching crews, and was good “PR” to flag up when the boat was heading out on a shout.
The six second siren is linked to a voice warning explaining what it means - and aims to warn public on the seafront, and nearby boating traffic of an impending launch. It will only be sounded between 7am and 10pm.
An RNLI spokeswoman said the old maroons were ”primitive explosive devices” which did not always work effectively and had caused death and serious injury.
Various alternative devices had been trialled to generate public awareness including bird scarers, klaxons, sirens and rotating beacons.
“After extensive testing we have chosen a siren which is in use at around 15 lifeboat stations at present, including Lymington, Salcombe, Skegness and Torbay. With current trials ongoing at stations including Cromer, there will be approximately 25 systems in place by the end of 2013,” she added.
The public can also get launch alerts via their computers and smart phones, through the RNLI’s website - www.rnli.org.uk. It is directly linked to RNLI crew pagers, enabling people to track lifeboat launches through an interactive map in real time. It also has details of how to get SMS text alerts.
A desktop virtual pager can also be downloaded, for free, from www.rnli.org.uk/pager.
The web page also has details of the RNLI’s SMS text alerts and RSS feeds via its News Centre.