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Slice of Life Tuesdays #190507

It was Wednesday morning, and we were doing what we love doing — taking a long beach walk. It was a cool 49 and the beach was nearly empty. A lone fisherman wearing waders was fishing for surfperch.

We hadn’t walked far when I noticed a very tall poll near a public access point. It had a large cylinder shape at the top. I wondered out loud about it, the unusualness of its shape. Carl said it was part of the emergency warning system — a speaker on top of a pole.

Emergency warning speaker
These signs are posted strategically at beach accesses.

We walked on, mostly in silence, listening to the steady roar of breakers and the occasional call of sea gulls. After walking north about a mile, we decided to turn around and head back so we could walk with the wind behind us and the sun on our faces.

Remember the tall pole with the speaker on top?

Well, just as we passed it again, it sounded three very loud blasts, like a blaring horn, shattering the quiet with a suddenness that makes you panic.

I felt a strange tension run through me.

The blasts were immediately followed by an unpleasant, blaring voice-recording, first in English and then in Spanish. Somewhere in the midst of the blaring message, I heard four important words,

“This is a test.”

It was 11:00 am, Wednesday, May 2nd.

The recording ended as quickly as it had begun.

The steady roar of breakers continued. The ebb and flow of the sea continued. The gulls continued squawking as they flew over us. And we continued our walk.

Later I learned that on the first Wednesday of every month, September through May, at 11 am, the Emergency Warning System is tested. The EWS is a system of loudspeakers on polls that serves to warn those near the water along beaches, docks, and estuaries to move to higher ground.

So, there won’t be another test until September. I’m wondering, Why isn’t the system tested in June, July, and August?


Slice of Life Tuesdays #SOL19
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