The ShakeAlertLA app that drew criticism for not notifying users during the July 4 and 5 earthquakes will begin sending alerts for smaller quakes, officials announced Wednesday.
Starting this month, the early warning system will alert residents of earthquakes at magnitude 4.5 or larger, according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, CalTech and the United States Geological Survey.
The previous threshold was magnitude 5.0.
“Every day we are communicating the importance of preparedness, so that every Angeleno has the tools and resources they need to build a better life, and then protect that life when disaster strikes,” Garcetti said. “Updates to ShakeAlertLA will result in an even more responsive application, making our city stronger and our families safer.”
The USGS ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast detects significant earthquakes quick enough that ShakeAlerts can reach people a few seconds before shaking starts.
“The USGS, through its scientific expertise, creates ShakeAlert earthquake early warnings, but in order to be successful, our public and private partners must develop technologies to use and distribute the alerts,” said Doug Given, the USGS’ earthquake early warning coordinator.
ShakeAlertLA was developed in collaboration with USGS, AT&T and The Annenberg Foundation to combine USGS sensor network with mobile app technology, according to the Mayor’s Office. It launched at the end of last year.
When people receive a ShakeAlert notification, they are advised to take protective action, such as drop, cover and hold on.
More information can be found at www.shakealert.org.
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