ShakeAlertLA provides users with critical seconds of warning before an earthquake in Los Angeles County
LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced the launch of ShakeAlertLA, the nation’s first publicly available earthquake early warning mobile application. The launch fulfilled his 2017 promise to launch the app by the end of 2018.
“Angelenos should have every chance to protect themselves and their families when there's a major earthquake,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We created the ShakeAlertLA app because getting a few seconds heads-up can make a big difference if you need to pull to the side of the road, get out of an elevator, or drop, cover, and hold on."
ShakeAlertLA is a pilot project, in collaboration with the US Geological Survey (USGS), AT&T and The Annenberg Foundation, to combine the USGS ShakeAlert earthquake early warning sensor network with mobile app technology. By expanding public use, the City of Los Angeles and its partners will be closely monitoring the ShakeAlertLA app to continue to improve its functionality and identify opportunities for further technological development. The L.A.-based pilot is a crucial step towards delivering ShakeAlerts to the entire West Coast.
The application launched on the Apple and Google Play stores on December 31, 2018, following more than a decade of research and development led by the USGS. The app has undergone extensive testing and has shown promising results, which will be improved with this rollout.
"The City of L.A. is an important ShakeAlert partner, undertaking the Nation’s first test of delivering USGS-generated ShakeAlerts to a large population using a City-developed cell phone app,” said James Reilly, USGS Director. “What we learn from this expanded pilot in L.A. will be applied to benefit the entire current and future ShakeAlert system.”
Following a competitive RFP process in 2017, AT&T was selected as the best team for the important task of developing the ShakeAlertLA app.
“ShakeAlertLA brings together a wealth of information that is easy-to-access and user-friendly for consumers,” said Rhonda Johnson, President of AT&T California. “Mobile technology is being used more to provide fast, available information. We’re very proud to be working alongside Mayor Garcetti and his team to build a robust solution designed to help improve public safety in Los Angeles.”
ShakeAlertLA was also made possible by a generous $260,000 grant from The Annenberg Foundation in 2017.
“Earthquakes are a fact of life in Los Angeles, a challenge we'll always have to face. That's why early earthquake warnings must also be a fact of life — on our phones and on our tablets the very moment they're available,” said Annenberg Foundation Chairman, President, and CEO Wallis Annenberg. “The ShakeAlertLA app is an extraordinary breakthrough, an early warning system that's literally at our fingertips. In a natural disaster, one extra second can save a life, and this app can provide that. I'm proud to support it, and I urge every Angeleno to download and use it — to help keep us safe and secure when an earthquake strikes."
ShakeAlertLA is a breakthrough step toward achieving an earthquake early warning network across California and eventually the entire west coast. It was designed to be open source in an effort to share technical know-how and increase adoption by other cities, counties, and states seeking to develop similar apps. Federal government funding will help to expand the reach of this potentially life-saving technology.
“The launch of the ShakeAlertLA App is another major milestone in the effort to build and deploy an earthquake early warning system,” said United States Representative Adam Schiff (CA-28). “By downloading this app on their phones, Angelenos will be able to receive a warning before the shaking starts, saving lives when the ‘big one’ hits. I’ve been proud to work with my congressional colleagues to secure over $45 million to date in federal funding to build the system, but the effort could not be successful without great local partners, and I congratulate Mayor Garcetti and the City of Los Angeles for their leadership on this issue.”
Since 2006, the USGS has been developing its ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) system with a coalition of collaborators for the entire west coast of the US. In California, ShakeAlert collaborators include the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Caltech, UC Berkeley, the California Geological Survey, and University of Nevada, Reno.
ShakeAlert can provide users with critical seconds of warning that an earthquake has begun and shaking is imminent. Alerts are issued when an earthquake of magnitude 5.0 or larger is detected by a regional sensor network and shaking is expected to be felt in the Los Angeles area. Nevertheless, a limitation in any early warning system is distance from the epicenter. The further a user is from the epicenter of an earthquake, the greater the warning a ShakeAlert user may receive — inversely, a user who is located closer to the epicenter may receive less warning.
To learn more about ShakeAlert, click here.