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L.A.’s Public Earthquake-Warning App Is the First in the U.S.

ShakeAlertLA aims to give smartphone users a few seconds’ warning of imminent quakes.
relates to L.A.’s Public Earthquake-Warning App Is the First in the U.S.
Richard Vogel/AP

On January 3, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the release of ShakeAlertLA, a new earthquake-warning app for residents of Los Angeles County. The app—the first of its kind in the United States—promises to “save lives by giving precious seconds to you and to your family to take action and to protect yourselves,” Garcetti told reporters at a launch event at City Hall.

Available to download in both English and Spanish in the Apple and Google Play stores, ShakeAlertLA is designed to give smartphone users a warning, with sound, of earthquakes of 5.0 magnitude or larger, a few seconds or more before the shaking begins. That’s not a lot of time, but even a brief window can be enough to gather family members and “drop, cover, and hold on,” as earthquake drills instruct.