The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake struck Oakland, California, in one of the state’s most historic earthquakes. Los Angeles is now releasing an app to warn LA County residents of incoming quakes.(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)
Earthquakes can level entire cities without warning and send dangerous shock waves across regions, upending lives in seconds.
Now, developing technologies paired with networks of sensors underground near major fault zones are providing warnings before quakes strike, giving people the precious seconds to drop, cover and hold on that officials say are crucial to safety.
Los Angeles this week became the first U.S. city to unveil an earthquake early warning app that works similarly to systems already in use in Mexico and Japan. The app works in conjunction with the U.S. Geological Survey’s warning system, ShakeAlert, to track early waves detected by highly-sensitive seismometers and send warnings downstream moments before anything is felt.
The app is designed to provide LA County users with anywhere from seconds to tens of seconds before shock waves reach a user’s location. It sends a notification if there’s a 5.0 or greater magnitude earthquake in the state, as well as provides information on how to prepare for an earthquake, stats on recent earthquakes and information on how to find help after one strikes.
In the case of a detection, the app’s push notification reads: “Earthquake! Earthquake! Expect strong shaking. Drop, cover, and hold on. Protect yourself now!”
L.A.’s system was developed under contract with AT&T and under the oversight of the city and Mayor Eric Garcetti, who stressed the importance of the technology in a tweet promoting the app on Wednesday.
“Earthquakes are a matter of when — not if,” Garcetti wrote.
The free app, which is available in English and Spanish, underwent testing before its launch.
Megan Trimble, Digital News Editor
Megan Trimble is the digital news editor for Civic at U.S. News & World Report. You can follow … Read moreMegan Trimble is the digital news editor for Civic at U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News