A Perth bushwalking expert has urged walkers to download the St John First Responder mobile application after Perth man Nathan Scattini was found dead in bush near Mustang Road in Champion Lakes on Tuesday.
Western Walking Club President Karen Tyson said the app allowed users to call 000 and alert emergency services of their location.
“You can call emergency services via the app and it locates your position, so it gives not only your physical address, but it also gives your GPS coordinates,” she said.
It was reported Mr Scattini called St John Ambulance around 6.40pm on Sunday after being bitten by a snake, but was not able to provide his location.
Ms Tyson said she did not know the exact details surrounding Mr Scattini’s death but said if he had downloaded the app and had telephone coverage, his life could have potentially been saved.
Bushwalking and trail running have become increasingly popular in Perth, but Ms Tyson warned many people underestimate the potential dangers of being out in the bush, and should consider joining a bushwalking club.
“Most bushwalking clubs here in WA follow a fairly good code of conduct, so every bush walk we do we have two qualified leaders, and the leaders have to do a leadership course so we’ve got very good navigational skills,” Ms Tyson said.
“We go prepared, so for each walk we do we know how to get out in a hurry if we need to, we have maps and a compass and GPS coordinates.
“We usually have quite a few people on the walk and you have to walk with a first aid kit.”
Ms Tyson said all the bushwalking clubs in Western Australia were insured and covered medical bills if something went wrong.
“You get to know the joys of bushwalking and how to do it safely,” she said.
“There is a lot of really very experienced bush walkers here in WA who are very happy to pass on information to people.”
The St John Ambulance website said the app also allowed qualified first aiders to be notified if someone has called 000 for an ambulance in a public space within 500m of their current location.
Ms Tyson recommends everyone, not just bushwalkers, download the app.