Sirens and recorded announcements warning of tsunamis, severe thunderstorms, earthquakes, shark sightings and more will be broadcast at Torrance Beach on Thursday from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. as part of a test of a new emergency evacuation warning system developed by the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors.
The Beach Emergency Evacuation Lights System (BEELS) is an alert system that incorporates audible announcements, a siren and flashing lights to warn all beachgoers—including those who are deaf or hard of hearing—when they need to leave the beach. During a beach evacuation, BEELS will flash white LED lights mounted on permanent structures and some lifeguard towers, as well as broadcast an audible siren and an evacuation announcement in both English and Spanish. The announcement message will change depending on the evacuation type, and the lights will flash slowly for a water-only evacuation and quickly for a full water and beach evacuation.
On Thursday, the actual recorded messages warning of evacuations will need to be tested at maximum volume to ensure they work. This means that beachgoers and neighbors in Torrance, Palos Verdes Estates and south Redondo Beach may hear evacuation alerts for tsunami warnings, severe thunderstorms, shark sightings, earthquakes, and other beach and water emergencies. Due to the high volume of the messaging, people who have sensitive hearing should avoid the area.
Testing will continue throughout May on Thursdays from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.; however, those tests will be done at a much lower volume.
BEELS is the first beach evacuation alert system worldwide to incorporate flashing lights specifically to alert those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Torrance Beach is the pilot location for the system; the eventual goal is to expand it to every beach in Los Angeles County.
About the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors
The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors manages Marina del Rey harbor and 25 miles of beaches along the Los Angeles County coastline, including world-famous Zuma, Malibu, Surfrider, and Venice beaches.
In addition to promoting and maintaining a clean coastline, the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors operates Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey. For more information, visit their website at beaches.lacounty.gov.