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ShakeAlert Can Now Notify Entire West Coast

Diagram shows how the shake alert system detects underground  S and P waves and communicates that information to a ShakeAlert processing center and on to the partners delivering the warning.
(Courtesy USGS)
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For the first time, the earthquake early warning system, ShakeAlert, can send phone notifications up and down the entire West Coast. Those alerts can give you a few seconds — up to a minute — of warning before you feel shaking from an earthquake.

ShakeAlert's National Outreach Coordinator Robert de Groot says there are a couple of variables as to when, and if, you'll get the alert:

"One is how far you are away from the epicenter of the earthquake, and another one is how you get the alert itself… Even the idea that if you get the alert just as shaking is beginning, at least it tells you what's going on, and you can still take that protective action."
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De Groot says at that point you should know to DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON!

By the way, here in California, you've got several ways to receive alerts. First two are built right into your phone:

There's the Wireless Emergency System, that's how you get Amber Alerts. Android users can also get alerts through their operating system.

You can also download two apps: MyShake and Quake Alert USA.