Chesil Beach is located in Dorset, South Coast of England. The shingle beach is approximately 14 miles long and it is part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. The Chiswell settlement and the southern neck of Chesil Beach have been flooded many times and this is well documented. Many sea defence systems and flood drainages have been constructed at the Portland end of the Chesil Beach to try to alleviate the overtopping and flooding problems.

In addition to sea and flood defences, the Environment Agency replaced their legacy sirens with wide area disaster warning sirens designed and manufactured in the UK by E2S Warning Signals in London. The sirens are sited at intervals through the community.

The alarm sirens are intended to warn local residents and individuals present on the beach and nearby towns of a real danger of flooding so that evacuation can take place. In some locations people are advised to stay indoors when they hear the siren as waves come over the beach and sweep through the town.

The location is particularly demanding due to the high background noise levels, the extremely exposed position and the high potential for risk to life. In stormy conditions, the noise of the waves, wind and moving shingle is very loud at this location. Responding to these challenges, E2S teams worked closely with the Environment Agency to ensure a suitable solution was found.

The E2S sirens were sounded on five occasions in January and February 2014. On each sounding the equipment worked well, and was effective in that members of the public, who were putting their lives at whilst risk standing on the sea wall, were seen to retreat very quickly when the sirens were operated. The alarm sirens can be initiated either remotely from the Environment Agency’s incident room via the web, from the Environment Agency’s lookout post in the village by radio or independently using a key at each installation. There were many factors to take into account when choosing the right sirens including reliability, ruggedness and flexibility of operation. Under normal conditions, the audible distances of the A141 siren from E2S can reach over 1km.

Neal Porter, E2S, sales & marketing director comments, “Working closely with the Environment Agency we were pleased to be able to put forward a bespoke siren system to create an effective warning system that will help to save lives.”