This is Not Your McDonalds’ ShakeAlert

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When the ground starts rocking, the California Earthquake warning system starts talking.  A known danger in the golden state, earthquakes are inevitable, and officials are working on improved ways to keep people informed, reports GovTech.com.

The California’s Office of Emergency Services and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) have partnered to test Wireless Emergency Alert capabilities (WEA). 

To test the system, ShakeAlert will flag all smartphones within a 60-block radius with a loud noise, followed by a text message that states: “This is a test of the California Earthquake warning system. No action required. This is a test.”

A follow-up survey will ask responders how long it took the alarm to reach them to determine whether or not ShakeAlert was effective. “The Bay Area has a very high seismic risk,” said Ryan Arba of the Office of Emergency Services, “but there are steps that we can take, not only as individuals but also as governments, to help give people as much protection as possible from that eventual earthquake.” 

The ShakeAlert system launched over ten years ago and USGS officials say it’s roughly half complete. When ground sensors detect tremors from earthquake waves, automated messages are sent to monitoring hubs in Seattle, Menlo Park, Berkeley and Pasadena.  Within seconds, the data is analyzed to find the epicenter and decide whether or not an alert is warranted. Earthquakes measuring a magnitude of 5.0 or trigger a WEA.

The WEA is transmitted from cell towers and boosters. California’s trial run will help determine how far the signal traveled and how many people received it. It is believed that ShakeAlert will save lives, notes GovTech.com. Find information about the test and follow up here.  Comments? Email Us.  

March 29, 2019

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