Evacuation Alert System Tested for First Time

TORRANCE, California—The Department of Beaches and Harbors conducted its first test of the Beach Emergency Evacuation Lights System (BEELS) on Thursday. The evacuation alert system’s lights flashed, and the announcements were broadcast.

The volume, however, of the evacuation warnings was not as loud as planned.

“This is why they call it a test,” said DBH Community and Marketing Services Division Chief Carol Baker. “This is new technology—it’s never been tried on any beach before.”

Further testing of the system will occur throughout May on Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The next test at full volume is scheduled for May 13.

While other beach evacuation alert systems have sirens and announcements, BEELS is the first evacuation warning system worldwide to incorporate flashing lights specifically to alert those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

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.

More information about BEELS is available online at beaches.lacounty.gov/beels.

Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors - Caring for Our Coast