Earthquakes always seem to catch everyone off guard. Quakes can happen at any time. Have you ever experienced an earthquake? When I lived in California, I felt a few. I'm grateful I've NEVER experienced anything above a 3.2 magnitude.

The good news today is that the ShakeAlert early warning system goes live in our state TODAY. The system doesn't predict earthquakes.

The alert system rapidly detects and provides information about earthquakes that have already begun and includes an estimate of the earthquake size, precise location and the shaking it may produce. Alerts may be delivered to mobile phones in areas that could experience weak or greater shaking in Washington state.

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ShakeAlert is an entire group of sensors that collect and share information about the location and magnitude expected from earthquakes to distribution points which then deliver alerts via the internet and cell phones.

Check out the video.

Most earthquake injuries are caused by people getting hit by falling debris or falling down while moving during all the shaking. ShakeAlert will give people seconds or even up to a minute of warning time to let people take protective measures before the shaking starts. In most situations, drop, cover, and hold on is the recommended method to protect yourself from a quake.

Earthquake Warning Sign
S?bastien Bonaim?

According to the USGS, (U.S. Geological Survey) more than 15 years of planning and development have gone into creating the quake warning system.

Seismograph instrument recording ground motion during earthquake
Tomislav Zivkovic

You can sign up for the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System here.

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