Los Angeles has become the first city in the U.S. to deploy an earthquake early warning app, available in English and Spanish, for the public.
The app, called ShakeAlertLA, uses a network of seismic sensors distributed throughout the region to detect earthquakes and dispatch a warning to smartphones when shaking is expected in Los Angeles County.
It was developed by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, AT&T, and the Annenberg Foundation.
“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,” said Garcetti in a statement.
Garcetti made an official announcement about the app at City Hall in January, but the app has been available to download in the Apple and Android app stores since Dec. 31.
For 5.0 Quakes and Larger
Alerts are only issued for earthquakes that are magnitude 5.0 or larger when shaking will be felt in the Los Angeles area.
At the press conference, Garcetti noted that the app might provide “precious seconds” for earthquakes epicentered closer to LA. But for a large earthquake epicentered on the San Andreas Fault, most Angelenos would have up to a minute’s warning.
In addition to the warning, the app features maps of recent local earthquakes and LA-specific information about how to prepare for and get help after a major quake.
Screenshots from the ShakeAlertLA show how Angelenos will receive advance warnings for earthquakes. ShakeAlertLA