The Department of Beaches and Harbors will conduct the second full volume test of the new Beach Emergency Evacuation Lights System (BEELS) at Torrance Beach on Thursday, May 13, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
BEELS incorporates announcements, a siren and flashing lights to warn all beachgoers when they need to leave the beach. During an 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.
Thursday’s test will include flashing lights, sirens and very loud announcements in English and Spanish. An alert announcing “This is only a test” will be played before any evacuation announcements.
During the test, people nearby may hear evacuation alerts for tsunami warnings, severe thunderstorms, shark sightings, earthquakes, and other beach and water emergencies. These messages will be played at maximum volume so to ensure they can be heard everywhere on Torrance Beach during a real emergency. Due to anticipated high decibel levels, people who have sensitive hearing should avoid the area.
The first full volume test of the system, held April 29, did not go as planned. While the lights flashed and announcements were broadcast after technical issues, the volume of the announcements was not as loud as expected. A second, quieter test of the system on May 6 was a success.
Additional tests will occur on May 20 and May 27 from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.; however, those tests are expected to be conducted at a much lower volume.
BEELS is the first beach evacuation alert system worldwide to feature 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.
For more information, visit beaches.lacounty.gov/beels.
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, DBH operates Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey.