ShakeAlertLA: First Municipally-Sponsored Earthquake Alert System App

AT&T and the City of Los Angeles are unveiling ShakeAlertLA, a unique mobile app designed to alert residents in Los Angeles County of an earthquake. The app is designed to send push notifications that an earthquake has occurred, potentially giving residents critical seconds of notice before shaking reaches them.

ShakeAlertLA is a pilot project designed to alert users when seismic activity equal to or greater than magnitude 5.0 is detected by a regional sensor network. It includes:

  • Maps that help users visualize the earthquake’s epicenter in relation to where they are.
  • Tools to build a readiness plan.
  • Ability to equip citizens with local response information and delivery details on support services for recovery efforts.

ShakeAlertLA is based on seismic data from a West Coast-wide network of sensors that detect earthquakes. The sensors are placed along fault lines and send data to United States Geological Survey (USGS) scientists.

When an earthquake strikes, information is sent to the app and pushed as an alert to active app subscribers. The farther a ShakeAlertLA user is from the epicenter of an earthquake, the greater the warning that user may receive, while a user who is located closer to the epicenter may receive less warning. Users may receive the alert before, during, or after shaking.

Here are the main ways that the ShakeAlertLA app can help users:

Alerts Users with Notification

  • When an earthquake occurs, the app will send a notification that warns: “Earthquake! Earthquake! Expect strong shaking. Drop, cover, and hold on. Protect yourself now!”

Locates Emergency Services

  • After an earthquake, residents can use the app to find various emergency services like where to seek shelter if your home is damaged or unsafe.

Assists in Protective Actions

  • Alerts can help residents and city officials take protective actions like taking cover from falling debris and halting public transit systems to limit damage and injuries.

ShakeAlertLA is free and offers both English and Spanish versions. The app is available now for download on iOS and Android smartphones and can be used on any carrier’s network.

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