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Posties trialling whistles to keep dangerous dogs away

Karen Collier, November 20, 2019 7:00PM Herald Sun

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Dogs often rush at or bite Australia Post’s posties. This is postie Michelle Hemingway, who recently collided with a dog that rushed at her motorbike. The photographer has made the photo look as though it is taken from inside a dog's mouth Picture: Jake Nowakowski media_cameraDogs often rush at or bite Australia Post’s posties. This is postie Michelle Hemingway, who recently collided with a dog that rushed at her motorbike. The photographer has made the photo look as though it is taken from inside a dog's mouth Picture: Jake Nowakowski

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Thousands of posties across Australia may be armed with ultrasonic* whistles to ward off dog attacks.

Australia Post has trialled using personal alarms that emit sound with frequencies* that can be heard by dogs but not people, to discourage dogs from rushing at bicycles and motorbikes or biting employees.

It is studying the results of the test, which involved using six of the deterrent* devices earlier this year, to decide whether the technology should be used across the country.

Dogs caused 374 postie injuries nationwide in the past financial year*.

media_cameraA scared or aggressive dog that is not kept on a lead or in a yard can rush at a postie on a bike or motorbike and bite the postie or cause an accident.

Australia Post is also checking with some local councils to see whether warnings about keeping dogs under control could be issued with rates* notices or newsletters.

Text message alerts reminding people to secure their dogs are already being sent to some customers on the day of parcel deliveries.

The investigation into the ultrasonic technology comes as Australia Post chief Christine Holgate appeals to the public to help keep posties and delivery drivers safe during the busy lead up to Christmas.

In addition to incidents involving dogs, road accidents were responsible for 230 postie injuries nationally over the past financial year, and reversing cars caused 112 injuries.

“Any injury is something we want to avoid,” Ms Holgate said.

“We are asking the people of Australia to keep our posties safe so we can deliver your Christmas presents.”

Australia Post is urging the public to keep dogs confined* to their properties and on a leash when being walked.

Drivers are advised to put mobile phones out of reach when driving; and to toot their horn and move slowly when reversing out of driveways.

QLD_CP_NEWS_POSTIES_11SEP18 media_cameraPostal Delivery Officer Heather Rhodes delivers mail. Australia Post asks that drivers toot their horns when they reverse out of a driveway to warn the postie. Picture: Anna Rogers

Australia Post is also reminding drivers to slow down when approaching roundabouts; and to use mirrors and check blind spots* before turning or changing lanes.

BUSY POSTIES

  • Australia Post delivered 3 billion letters and parcels last year.
  • More than 1.3 million parcels are delivered every day.
  • There are 11.9 million delivery points across Australia.
  • There are 7000 postie motorbikes.
  • There will be 3700 extra staff, including 1500 more posties, hired over Christmas to cope with all the present deliveries.
  • The busiest day last Christmas was December 17, 2018, when posties delivered three million parcels on that one day.

GLOSSARY

  • ultrasonic: higher frequency (or pitch) sound than humans can hear
  • frequencies: the description of sounds that tells us about pitch, or how high or low sounds are
  • deterrent: to encourage someone not to do something
  • financial year: the year from July 1 to June 30
  • rates: a payment to the local shire or council to pay for services such as roads and bins
  • confined: restricted to
  • blind spots: the place around them that a driver can’t see directly or with car mirrors

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What does the hi-tech device do to keep dogs away?
  2. How many postie injuries did dogs cause last financial year?
  3. When would be a good time to toot the horn to help keep posties safe?
  4. How many postie motorbikes are there?
  5. What was the busiest day for posties last Christmas?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Rewrite the story
Rewrite this story for Dogs News. Your story is aimed at dogs and should give the information from a dog’s point of view.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

2. Extension
What could be used to keep posties safe from one of the other dangers that you have read about in today’s story? Choose another danger and design an invention for a gadget that help posties avoid this danger.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity.
Curriculum Links: English, Design and Technology

VCOP ACTIVITY
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many connectives as you can find in pink. Discuss if these are being used as conjunctions, or to join ideas and create flow.

HAVE YOUR SAY: How do you get your mail? Would you like to be a postie?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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