CA Office of Emergency Services launch earthquake warning system
Are you ready for the “big one?”
Regardless of how you answer that question, the good news is that tools are available.
Earlier this year, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, known as Cal OES, announced the launch of a public awareness campaign to educate all California residents about the state’s innovative earthquake warning system — Earthquake Warning California.
The campaign, titled “Don’t Get Caught Off Guard,” direct state residents to free tools, resources and information, including the smartphone MyShake App, Android Earthquake Alerts, Government Wireless Emergency Alerts, known as WEAs, as well as www.earthquake.ca.gov.
The state’s education campaign delivers messages through advertising channels, including digital, social media and broadcast ads, as well as outreach to community and industry organizations to increase awareness of available technology. The campaign will be sustained through 2022, with an optional one-year extension.
“California is proud to have the first statewide earthquake warning system and now to spread the word broadly about this new innovative, life-saving system,” Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci said in a statement.“Cal OES’s leadership facilitated making warnings publically available.The public can now have moments of warning before previously unexpected natural disasters.
“It is changing the world of mitigation and emergency management.”
Last year’s state budget included a $16.3 million one time general fund to finish the build-out of the Earthquake Warning California system on the state’s Integrated Seismic Network. The build-out included finishing seismic station installation, adding GPS stations to the network, and improving telemetry. The CISN provides the ground motion data needed to estimate the magnitude, location and expected shaking of an earthquake and produce a ShakeAlert warning.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget this year included an additional allocation of $17.3 million, which was supported by a one-time loan of the same amount from the School Land Bank Fund, for full operation and maintenance of the system. The general fund budget also calls for launching a public education campaign to remind residents that every second counts when warning mobile device users before the ground starts to shake.
The campaign uses relatable situations while delivering the serious message to residents, urging them to have the tools at the ready to alert them as soon as an earthquake is detected by ground sensors.
The campaign features statewide advertising delivering messages directed to diverse audiences.Over nearly two years the campaign budgets more than $420,000 for ethnic television (Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese). There is more than $1 million dedicated to general market television advertising. Roughly $2.3 million will be directed at digital advertising, which includes digital, social, and audio streaming.
The campaign will also enlist business and civic groups, government agencies, policymakers, charitable institutions, faith-based organizations, and social services to deliver messages to families, staff, members, and followers.Industry and audience-specific toolkits are available for download in multiple languages on the Earthquake Warning California website.
“Through broad messaging and targeted outreach launching in October, we believe organizations in all parts of the state will be motivated to help millions of residents take earthquake preparedness steps,” Mr. Ghilarducci said. “Education, utilities, first responders, public safety, transportation and others can play a vital role in preventing injuries and minimizing the risk of other hazards in the case of the next Big One.”
In October 2019, on the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake that caused up to $6 billion damage and was responsible for 63 deaths and 3,757 injuries, Gov. Newsom announced the launch of the campaign.
Earthquake Warning California utilizes CISN, which is a partnership between Cal OES, United States Geological Survey , UC Berkeley, the California Institute of Technology, and the California Geological Survey. The system uses ground-motion sensors to detect earthquakes that have already started and estimates their size, location, and impact. When it detects a significant magnitude, the system issues a ShakeAlert Message, providing a warning before shaking begins. Earthquake Warning California marries the MyShake App and Android Earthquake Alerts with traditional warning delivery methods, such as WEAs.
The MyShake App has been downloaded more than one million times since being publicly launched in 2019. In addition, Cal OES announced a partnership with Google that includes Earthquake Warning California technology as a feature included in millions of new Android phones and via software updates in existing Android phones used in California.
Earthquake-prone countries like Mexico and Japan have long had earthquake warning systems, with warnings typically delivered through cell phones or public address systems. However, California is the first in the U.S. to offer a statewide earthquake warning system.
To learn more about earthquake preparedness, the MyShake App, WEAs, Android Earthquake Alerts, and the latest earthquake warning news and information, visit: earthquake.ca.gov.