Earthquake early warning app sends alert through building fire alarms, home devices

MARINA DEL REY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Imagine hearing an audio warning about an earthquake up to a minute before it hits. The sound would play through your building's fire alarm system, even Google Home or Amazon's home devices.

"We're getting more and more past due for the big one and the estimates that the USGS and some universities have found - they say 2,000 people will die and there will be 50,000-plus injuries," said Josh Bashioum, Early Warning Labs founder.

Bashioum's company operates the technology, which is already installed in a Marina del Rey condo building. They've partnered with USGS and its earthquake early warning system has 850 sensors up and running.

"We'll calculate how bad the shaking will be where this building is and how long it's going to until it gets here and then we send the alert. All within about a second to two seconds," Bashioum said.

Although President Trump's budget cuts funding for the shake alert system, Bashioum said there's enough support from representatives, universities and local governments to operate the system.

Bashioum said sensor density is sufficient in Southern California and the Bay Area, but not in other parts of the state or the Pacific Northwest.

"It's a low cost and just tremendous benefit and I can see a case where all buildings have to do this. Unfortunately, we don't think of disasters until they happen," said Robert Sides, general manager of Regatta Seaside in Marina del Rey.

The advanced warning will open elevators, electronic garage doors and turn off gas lines. Early warning labs also has an app for your phone and will send a push alert about an earthquake, but can't override a device that's off or on silent.

"I expect an earthquake. I am worried. I would carry a lot more anxiety, but I know how well-prepped our building is," said Patricia Schroeder, a resident of Regatta Seaside.

Schroeder left a neighboring apartment building to move into Regatta Seaside because they have the earthquake early warning system.

Other users include L.A. Metro, the L.A. County Fire Department, Cedars-Sinai Hospital and LAX.

Early Warning Labs is planning a wide release of their app and their residential and commercial notification system by this summer. They hope to have it installed in residential and commercial buildings across the West Coast.
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