LA County to Conduct 2nd Full-Volume Test of Beach Evacuation Alert

TORRANCE (CNS) - Los Angeles County officials today will conduct the second full-volume test of a new emergency warning system at Torrance Beach, meaning people in the area could hear amplified alerts about tsunamis, shark sightings or earthquakes.

The county Department of Beaches and Harbors conducted the first official test of the Beach Emergency and Evacuation Lights System, or BEELS, in late April. While the warning lights flashed as anticipated, 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.

Thursday's test will again be conducted at full volume, and county officials warned that “due to high decibel levels, people who have sensitive hearing should avoid the area.”

The test will include audible announcements warning of various emergencies prompting beach or water evacuations -- tsunamis, lightning, earthquakes or shark sightings. The audible announcements during the test will be preceded by a “This is only a test” disclaimer.

Additional tests of the system are planned for May 20 and 27, but those will be done at a lower volume, according to the county.

The BEELS system includes flashing white LED lights mounted on free- standing structures and lifeguard towers. It also includes an audible siren and evacuation announcements, which are delivered in both English and Spanish. The LED lights will flash slowly for a water-only evacuation, and faster for a full beach evacuation.

The BEELS system is being tested at Torrance Beach, but it could eventually be installed at other county beaches.

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