Security & Business Resilience

California Develops Earthquake Early-Warning System

November 13, 2013
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California will be the first state to get an earthquake early warning system.

 The bill, which was introduced by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), requires the Office of Emergency Services (OES) to develop a comprehensive statewide earthquake early warning system to alert Californians in advance of shaking from an earthquake.

“When it comes to earthquakes in California, it is not a matter of if, but when,” said Padilla. “With Governor Brown’s signature, the process of developing a statewide earthquake early warning system has begun. When the system is up and running, Californians will be provided critical seconds to take cover, assist loved ones, or pull over safely to the side of the road. It will allow time to stop a train and power down critical infrastructure. Most importantly, it will save lives,” he said.

The OES, along with the California Seismic Safety Commission, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the California Geological Survey (CGS), UC Berkeley(UCB), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS),will lead the effort to develop the early warning system. The system would issue alerts based on data from a range of seismometers around California located at fault lines and densely populated areas. The data would be processed by “primary-wave” (p-wave), followed by “secondary wave” (s-wave).

Funding for the project will be determined by the beginning of 2016.

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