'Please Do Not Panic.' Emergency Alert System Tested At Torrance Beach
People congregating at Torrance Beach Thursday afternoon will see flashing lights and hear loud emergency alerts, but it's only a test of a new beach evacuation warning system.
The county Department of Beaches and Harbors will conduct the first official test of the Beach Emergency and Evacuation Lights System (BEELS). The test is scheduled for 3 to 5 p.m.
According to the county, the BEELS system includes flashing white LED lights mounted on free-standing structures and lifeguard towers. It also includes a siren and evacuation announcements, which are delivered in both English and Spanish.
The county says this is "the first beach evacuation alert system worldwide to incorporate flashing lights specifically to alert those who are deaf or hard of hearing."
The county is using Torrance Beach as the pilot location, with plans to expand to all county beaches.
Officials warn that the sound may be startling and the messages alarming. They ask:
Please do not panic. This is only a test.
Officials said that, in order to do a complete test of the system, those in the area will hear the following warnings:
- A tsunami warning has been issued. Please evacuate the beach immediately.
- A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued. Please evacuate the beach immediately.
- An earthquake is impacting the area. Please evacuate the beach immediately.
- An emergency event has occurred. Please evacuate the beach immediately.
- A shark has been spotted in the area. Please evacuate the water immediately.
- Unsafe conditions in the water. Please evacuate the water immediately.