Updated evacuation alert system to be tested at Torrance Beach

TORRANCE, California—Two years after its initial launch, an updated version of the Beach Emergency Evacuation Lights System (BEELS) will be tested at Torrance Beach from 11 a.m. to noon on Monday, June 5, and Tuesday, June 6, the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors announced Friday.

When triggered in an emergency, BEELS flashes white LED lights mounted on permanent structures and some lifeguard towers, as well as broadcasts an audible siren and an evacuation announcement in both English and Spanish. The announcement message changes depending on the evacuation type, and the lights flash slowly for a water-only evacuation and quickly for a full beach evacuation.

The system updates include additional equipment and a software overhaul. Because of the scope of the upgrade, the announcements warning beachgoers of tsunamis, severe thunderstorms, earthquakes, sharks and more will each need to be tested. A “test” message will play before and after each emergency announcement. All tests will be conducted at full volume, so those with sensitive hearing may wish to avoid the beach from 11 a.m. to noon.

After Tuesday, additional testing will take place from 11 a.m. to noon on Mondays for the next 4-6 weeks. While the tests will be at full volume, only the “test” message will be played.

BEELS is being piloted at Torrance Beach with the goal of eventually expanding it to all Los Angeles County beaches. For more information, visit beaches.lacounty.gov/beels.