Earth Shaking? Now there is an app for that in the city of Angels.
Aimée Lutkin. Lifehacker•January 3, 2019
Getting an immediate warning on your phone that an earthquake is about to begin is now an option in the Los Angeles County area with the new ShakeAlertLA app. Finally, a use for my phone.
The app is available for download for Apple and Android phones, ABC Newsreports, and is capable of alerting people up to twenty seconds before a quake hits. That may not sound like much, but it can be the difference between life and death.
Previously, the system has only been available to a limited group of beta testers, and had seen some satisfactory results in 2018. The app significantly expands access to the system. Warnings are only issued when the magnitude of the quake is 5.0 or larger and when they will be felt in the Los Angeles area. The notification is fairly intense, but that may be what you need to read to get moving:
“EARTHQUAKE, EARTHQUAKE, EXPECT STRONG SHAKING. DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON. PROTECT YOURSELF NOW!”
The app was originally developed with the intention of expanding to the entire West coast, but the federal budget for creating the sensor network was eliminated. However, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has announced plans to expand again after the alert system is tested at the regional level, according to the Curbed Los Angeles. The app was made possible in LA through a partnership with the city, the Annenberg Foundation, and AT&T.
In addition to providing a warning, the app also offers checklists for an earthquake survival kit, and what else you can do to prepare—or recover. The app doesn’t need to be open to send you a notification, but it does track your movements. It basically has to in order to know if you’re in a danger zone. If you’re able to take advantage of this service, you should.
And if you’re in an area that could use it, demand it: 20 seconds of warning might be exactly what you need. Contact local representatives; the implementation in Los Angeles couldn’t have happened without the support of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. The Los Angeles Times also reports that Early Warnings Lab, which also works with the USGS, is hoping to release their version of a similar app called QuakeAlert to serve statewide. You can register with them to become a potential beta tester. The more people who are interested, the more likely it is that systems like these will be completed.