Beach lovers from throughout the Southland may have a little extra protection in case of an emergency as the Board of Supervisors has approved a new strobe light-based emergency warning system designed to alert visitors and swimmers to a tsunami, shark sighting or lightning storm. It will be tested first at Torrance Beach in the South Bay.

Supervisor Janice Hahn said the system is designed to better communicate danger to deaf and hard-of-hearing residents than county lifeguards shouting through bullhorns.

“Our L.A. County beaches are some of the most beautiful and popular in the world and it is our responsibility to make sure they are safe and accessible to anyone and everyone,” Hahn said. “This innovative system not only includes flashing lights to better alert deaf and hard-of-hearing beach goers, it also includes multi-lingual audible warnings to make evacuation alerts more effective for everyone.”

L.A. County Beaches and Harbors Safety Officer Randy Dean-who has two adult children who are hard-of-hearing-came up with the idea for the system, according to Hahn. Dean’s boss praised the technology.

“This first-of-its-kind emergency alert system will make the beach safer for everyone,” said Gary Jones, director of the Department of Beaches and Harbors. “Randy has shown that one person can make a difference.”

The board approved up to $300,000 for the pilot at Torrance Beach and Hahn said she hoped the technology could ultimately be rolled out at all L.A. county beaches.