The new app ShakeAlertLA is projected to send users potentially life-saving alerts.
A new app has been released and its sole purpose is to notify users when a major earthquake is about to hit the city. ShakeAlertLA doesn’t predict an earthquake before it hits, but it does detect them pretty early. By sending a notification to let users know that an earthquake of 5.0 magnitude or greater has started essentially buying you a handful, or even tens, of seconds before heavy shaking begins.
Though it may not seem like a lot of time, knowing of a quake, even if just seconds before, can affect your reaction. A warning time of even a few seconds can save lives by allowing utilities to turn off large hi-pressure fuel lines, transit agencies to halt trains and for doctors to stop surgeries.
The app was built by the city of Los Angeles, AT&T and system built by the U.S. Geological Survey; the technology detects P-wave energy which is the first energy to exude from an earthquake. The app is then able to detect where the earthquake is coming from and how strong it will be.