Santa Monica firm's app could provide early earthquake warning

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) -- Some people in Southern California knew about Tuesday night's earthquake in La Verne before it happened thanks to a new app.

A Santa Monica-based tech firm, Early Warning Labs, is working on an earthquake alert app for cellphones.

Testers said that the QuakeAlert app gave them a 12 second heads-up before Tuesday's earthquake.

The app can tell the expected arrival time of the earthquake, distance from the epicenter and the expected intensity.

The alert gives emergency crews a jump on the shaking.

About 100,000 people are already on the app's waiting list.

"Once we can get this out to a critical mass of people, it's possible we could save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives in the next big earthquake," Josh Bashioum, founder of Early Warning Labs, said. "And that's really why we're doing this."

Early Warning Labs has partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey to develop the technology.

Release of the free app to the public is expected sometime next year.
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