A New App Offers an Early Warning for Earthquakes in the Los Angeles Area

Shake, rattle and scroll.

Los Angeles is the first city in the U.S. to provide an app for your smartphone that gives a few seconds warning for an impending large earthquake. Called ShakeAlertLA, the app uses a network of seismic sensors distributed throughout the region to detect earthquakes and dispatch a warning to smartphones when shaking is expected in Los Angeles County.

The app was developed by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, AT&T and the Annenberg Foundation. It was made available on December 31 in both English and Spanish.

“Angelenos should have every chance to protect themselves and their families when there’s a major earthquake,” said Garcetti in a statement. “We created the ShakeAlertLA app because getting a few seconds’ heads-up can make a big difference if you need to pull to the side of the road, get out of an elevator, or drop, cover, and hold on.”

According to LA Curbed, alerts are only issued for earthquakes that are magnitude 5.0 or larger when shaking will be felt in the Los Angeles area.

Read more about the new app and see pictures here.

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