A new warning system is hitting the Jersey Shore
Last year in South Seaside Park in Berkley Township, Keith Pinto was killed by a lightning strike. He was a lifeguard there and was only 19 years old.
It happened at White Sands Beach by 21st Avenue on August 30. Eight people, four of them lifeguards, were struck by the lightning but only Pinto died.
Now, a shore town just to the north is investing big in a lightning detection system.
Brick officials had already considered the technology before Pinto’s death and decided it was too expensive. His tragedy made them revisit the idea.
They approved $40,000 to be spent on Thor Guard. It’s an early warning system that the township says can give lifeguards a faster heads up to clear the beaches.
The way it works is sensors pick up on lightning within 25 miles and activates a loud siren with a 30 second blast. They say it gives advance warning of possible lightning strikes up to 45 minutes. It will be used in addition to radar and other metrics already in use.
Brick Beach One and Brick Beach Three will have these installed by mid-July.
Dan Santaniello is the township’s recreation director and says beachgoers often don’t believe lifeguards when they are warned a storm is moving their way and actually think those lifeguards are simply trying to get the afternoon off. This, he says, takes away the ambiguity and the arguments that can slow down clearing a beach.
These sirens will be heard within a mile of the devices so they should certainly grab some attention.
Once the sensors pick up no electricity in the vicinity for 30 minutes, a different siren along with a green strobe light go off to serve as an all clear.
Santaniello says Brick conferred with Stafford Township where they’ve already been using the warning system for their athletic complex and officials there say it’s worked quite well.
So, if this catches on, it might become yet another sound synonymous with the Jersey Shore.
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