ShakeAlert: Washington’s Earthquake Early-Warning System went live May 4 with Phone Alerts

ShakeAlert: Washington’s Earthquake Early-Warning System went live May 4 with Phone Alerts

The ShakeAlert system rapidly detects earthquakes that have already begun and then sends alerts to people’s mobile phones to warn them before the shaking hits.

Washingtonians are now able to receive an alert on their phone if an earthquake starts near their location.

The ShakeAlert earthquake early-warning system went live in Washington state on May 4, 2021.

ShakeAlert, operated by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, works by sending residents a push alert on their mobile phones, giving them seconds of warning before the shaking triggered by an earthquake reaches them.

However, it’s not an earthquake prediction tool, experts said. Instead, the system rapidly detects and provides information about earthquakes that have already begun and includes an estimate of the earthquake’s size, location and the shaking it may produce. 

“Nothing can replace families having an emergency plan in place and being at least two weeks ready,” said Gov. Jay Inslee in a prepared statement. “We all know an earthquake could strike at any time. An Earthquake Early Warning system could provide the critical time needed for Washingtonians to drop, cover and hold on. It has the potential to save lives and reduce damage to critical infrastructure.”

More information is available at https://www.shakealert.org/

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May 10, 2021