Earthquake early warning app for Los Angeles County now available for download

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An app that alerts residents in Los Angeles County of earthquakes - potentially providing critical seconds of warning before shaking begins - is now available for download. (mayorofla/Twitter)

When the big one comes, even seconds of warning prior to shaking could save your life. And if you live in Los Angeles County, the ShakeAlertLA app could do just that.

The app is now available for download for Apple and Android phones. Those who download the app would receive a push alert, possibly up to 20 seconds before an earthquake hits L.A. County.

MORE: USGS, Caltech officials announce rollout of West Coast's earthquake early warning system
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Seismologists, elected officials and Caltech scientists announced the rollout of an earthquake early warning system for the West Coast.


The push alert on the application would read: "EARTHQUAKE, EARTHQUAKE, EXPECT STRONG SHAKING. DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON. PROTECT YOURSELF NOW!"

"We cannot predict earthquakes, but we can tell you an earthquake has started and it's on its way to you," explained Tom Heaton, a Caltech seismologist who helped design the earthquake early warning system.

Aside from potentially saving lives, the app also helps cities stop trains or shutdown gas lines in the event of an earthquake, Heaton said.

Alerts will be sent to your phone about any earthquake 5.0 or higher. The app does not need to be open in order for users to receive the alert. Tips to prepare and recover from an earthquake are also available on the app.

Mayor Eric Garcetti praised the early warning app on Twitter.

The push alert system will be triggered by the U.S. Geological Survey early warning system, ShakeAlert, which has about 400 sensors in Southern California and more in Oregon and Washington.

The Los Angeles City Council in June approved the negotiation of a $300,000 contract with AT&T and the GRYD Foundation for the design, creation and deployment of the Early Earthquake Warning System Mobile Application.
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ABC7 has compiled a list of items that are important to have in your earthquake kit so that you're prepared for "the big one."


L.A. is the first city in the country to offer an early warning app.

"In the last 10 years, we've seen more and more apps and technology coming out to inform us of catastrophe, but 10 seconds can help and save a gigantic crowd out of the building," said L.A. resident Bing Huang, who downloaded the app on Wednesday.

City News Service contributed to this report.
Related Topics:
technologyearthquakesciencemobile appappwarningUSGSdisasterSouthern CaliforniaLos Angeles CountyLos Angeles
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