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Earthquake early alert system put to the test this week

Posted at 9:31 AM, Mar 26, 2019

This week scientists will conduct an earthquake alert test that could eventually be used for the entire West Coast during a real emergency.

On Wednesday at 11 a.m., people in Oakland will see a test of ShakeAlert on their phones.

Through the test, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, or Cal OES, and the United States Geological Survey will evaluate the system’s ability to deliver an earthquake early warning alert.

The alerts are sent out through the Wireless Emergency Alert system, also known as WEA.

Officials are asking for feedback from the public after Wednesday’s test to help determine how successful it was.

The test will specifically target 60 square blocks east of Lake Merritt in Downtown Oakland.

Developers hope the technology will eventually be able to give a few seconds of warning in the event of an earthquake. That could be enough time for people to find protection, slow down public transit, and even pause surgeries at hospitals. The hope is to use the technology in California, Oregon, and Washington State.