Los Angeles Times: California receives U.S. funding for earthquake early-warning system

Rong-Gong Lin II of the Los Angeles Times reports on funding for the earthquake early warning system:

California has received congressional funding to begin rolling out an earthquake early-warning system next year, capping nearly a decade of planning, setbacks and technological breakthroughs, officials said Sunday.

Scientists have long planned to make such a system available to some schools, fire stations, and more private businesses in 2015, but their effort hinged on Congress providing $5 million. The system would give as much as a minute's warning before shaking is felt in metropolitan areas, a margin that experts say would increase survival.

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) on Sunday urged state governments and private companies to pitch in for the cost.

"I only hope we can get this done before we have a major earthquake," Schiff said. "We've been derelict, even though the technology is being pioneered here. It's something we really need to put into effect."

The California Office of Emergency Services has been looking for private entities to help further fund the California system.

"There are certainly private firms out there that would want a stable and reliable earthquake early-warning system in California," said agency spokesman Brad Alexander.

One private firm has been using a proprietary system to provide early-warning systems to some public agencies, particularly those near the San Andreas fault. Other firms are looking toward the USGS's system to develop mobile applications and devices similar to emergency weather radios that would provide the alerts to consumers.

At the earliest, it is probably going to take several years for early alerts to be available on smartphones. San Francisco officials have discussed relaying warnings via text messages and phone calls to residents, and possibly activating 112 sirens located across the city.

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By:  Rong-Gong Lin II
Source: Los Angeles Times