Coming soon to some Jersey Shore beaches: Lightning detectors

BRICK TOWNSHIP, N.J. – You’ve heard of them at golf courses and sports fields, but now one Jersey Shore town is installing lightning detectors to try and keep people safe this summer. 

This comes after two people were killed by lightning last summer in our area. 

As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reports, a wooden pole will soon hold a lightning detection system. 

“At the very top will be the horn, as well as the blinking strobe lights,” said Township of Brick Mayor John Ducey. “Pick up a lightning storm as far away as 20 miles.” 

“Once it gets into the 7-5 mile range, that’s when the horns and sirens will go off,” said Dan Santaniello, superintendent of recreation in Brick. 

Ducey says the idea of adding the system came up a few years ago. Last year’s lightning strike death of 19-year-old lifeguard at a beach in South Seaside Park added new urgency. 

“The kid that actually got struck by lightning was my cousin’s friend, so they had a whole traumatic thing with that. So I think it’s a really great idea. I think get people off the beach safely ahead of time. I don’t think there’s really any cons to it,” said Kelly Gowing of Brick Township. 

But resident Kathryn Bradbury thinks otherwise. 

“Waste of money,” she said. “Because we don’t need them.” 

“The challenge is people don’t believe our lifeguards,” said Donovan Brown, chief of Brick Township lifeguards. 

Brown has been a lifeguard for 48 years. He thinks the technology is a game changer. 

“People aren’t going to fight with us anymore. I mean, people sometimes refuse to leave. We document, you know, two people with bathing suits on refuse to leave,” Brown said. 

Years ago, both Brown and Santaniello saw people get struck by lightning. 

“Since that day like, 14 years ago, I’m deathly afraid of lightning,” Santaniello said. 

One lightning detector will be located at Brick beach 1, the other at Brick beach 3. The two will cover the entire 1.8-mile stretch of beach. 

The Township says they’re operated by solar power and cost less than $50,000. They hope to be an running by July. 

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