The Department of Beaches and Harbors considered the full-volume test of a new emergency warning system at Torrance Beach conducted Thursday a success.
Beachgoers heard the siren and emergency evacuation alerts in English and Spanish and may have seen flashing lights on permanent structures and two lifeguard towers, according to Nicole Mooradian, public information officer with the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors.
Thursday’s test of the Beach Emergency and Evacuation Lights System, or BEELS, focused on the volume of the siren and emergency announcements.
While decibel readings were not immediately available, the announcements could be clearly heard at Avenue G in Redondo Beach and 1,000 yards offshore, Mooradian said.
The lights flashed at the correct intervals for each evacuation announcement, Mooradian said.
The test was the second full-volume test and third overall of the system intended to warn the public about tsunamis, shark sightings or earthquakes.
The warning lights flashed as anticipated during the full-volume test April 29 but there were issues with the audible alerts, with the volume not nearly as loud as anticipated.
A second, low-volume test of the system was conducted last week, and officials called it a success.
Additional tests of the system are planned for May 20 and 27, but will be done at a lower volume, Mooradian said.
While the BEELS system is being tested at Torrance Beach it could eventually be installed at other county beaches.
While other beach evacuation alert systems may have sirens and announcements, Mooradian said BEELS is the first beach evacuation warning system worldwide to incorporate flashing lights specifically designed to alert people who are deaf or hard of hearing to an evacuation.