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Garcetti announces Eagle Rock HS to get earthquake warning system

Craig Clough | October 23, 2015

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today that classrooms in Eagle Rock High School will be the first in the country to pilot the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) earthquake early warning system, ShakeAlert, a software application that will be installed on classroom computers at the school.

The software reads data from 625 seismic sensors across the West Coast to deliver a warning, lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes before an earthquake hits.

“The success of ShakeAlert is integral to our city’s future: here in Los Angeles, we know the question is when — not if — the next big earthquake will hit, and a warning can mean the difference between life and death,” Garcetti said in a press release. “As a national leader on earthquake resilience and a tech capital, it seems natural that L.A. would be the test bed for this pioneering seismic safety technology– all while inspiring a future generation of engineers and seismologists in our schools.”

The news for Eagle Rock high students comes just days after a NASA-led team of scientists published a report that predicted the Los Angeles area has a 99.9 percent chance of suffering a magnitude 5.0 earthquake within the next two and a half years. The USGS refuted the report, saying the chance of such a quake is an 85 percent probability.

Either way, the ShakeAlert could come in handy.

“When disaster hits, a fraction of a second is valuable, a few seconds can save lives, but being able to detect the unpredictable? That’s priceless,” LA City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield said in a statement. “As a technophile and policymaker, I’m thrilled that Los Angeles is leading in the deployment of cutting edge solutions to enhance the safety of our communities and our schools.”

The ShakeAlert system is still in a trial form in Southern California, and there are plans to expand it across the West Coast as more seismic sensors are installed and the system becomes more robust, according a city press release.

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