Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that will help build out an earthquake early warning system for California. Once it’s up and running, the system will detect the early stages of a quake and transmit a warning to people’s phones and radios. Mark Ghilarducci with the California Office of Emergency Services says it’s a big step.
Ghilarducci: "Technology to be able to sense the time that the energy gets released before the shaking occurs and be able to put that in a warning is very, very significant."
The system may only provide a few seconds of advance notice before shaking begins, but officials hope it could save lives and help utilities and transit systems brace for a temblor.
Ghilarducci says lot of work still needs to be done before the system is operational. That includes building out an array of sensors, and educating the public about how to respond once an alert is issued.
Ghilarducci: “Once you get a notice, what does it mean, what do you do with that notice? It’s important that the public understands how important that this is. These are not warnings that you’re going to get all the time.”
The state hopes to have the system up and running at least in a limited capacity in a few years.