Los Angeles’ Earthquake Early Warning App Released
On January 3, 2019, the City of Los Angeles and AT&T formally announced the release of ShakeAlertLA – a smartphone app that alerts Los Angeles County residents of current earthquake activity. In the event of an earthquake, the application aims to warn the public several seconds before shaking occurs in their area so that they may have time to find safety until the shaking subsides. Ideally, residents could receive a 10-20 second warning which could be the amount of time needed to immediately find shelter, pull over on the road while driving, or to just simply protect themselves. In order to receive an alert, the earthquake must be a 5.0 magnitude or greater and one must be located within the county of Los Angeles.
An eagerly anticipated project of Mayor Garcetti and the city, ShakeAlertLA works with the United States Geological Survey’s early warning system which detects seismic waves and alerts users when there is earthquake activity. However, the creators of the app have informed the public that there may be false alarms, late notices, or even no warning at all. These disclaimers remind Californians that they must always remain alert and prepared in the event of an earthquake. Despite these warnings, the hope that the system will alert people is optimistic as the benefits of early warnings far outweigh the potential disappointments. In addition to the alerts, the phone app also provides an earthquake alert map with recent earthquake locations as well as tips and resources on how to prepare and recover from an earthquake.
Hopefully early warning alerts will soon be made available state-wide and all Californians will feel a little safer when – not if – an earthquake should hit.
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