This Early Earthquake Alert Can Save Thousands of Lives

This Early Earthquake Alert Can Save Thousands of Lives

Earthquake aftermath. image by pixabay

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Earthquake early warning alerts will be delivered directly to wireless devices in Oregon and Washington state and as part of the ShakeAlert public alerting rollout across the entire West Coast of the United States. Although the US Geological Survey cannot predict where and when future earthquakes will occur, the bureau, along with a team of organizations, helped create a system that can provide vital seconds of warning that an earthquake is happening and shaking is imminent.  

The ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning system is a network of sensors that collects and shares real-time information about the magnitude, location and expected shaking from earthquakes on the US West Coast to distribution partners who then deliver alerts via cell phones and the internet. 

Partners can also initiate automatic protective actions such as stopping trains to prevent derailments and closing water valves to protect infrastructure.  The system can save lives and reduce injuries by giving people time to take protective actions, such as moving away from hazardous areas and making sure to drop, cover and hold on. report that for more than two years, a growing number of ShakeAlert technical partners in Oregon, Washington and California have been using the ShakeAlert system for triggering automated actions to support public safety. Although ShakeAlert is operational in all three states, the USGS and its university and state partners are working to finish building the seismic network to support prompt earthquake detection. 

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