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One Year After Ridgecrest Earthquake, California Office of Emergency Services Urges Awareness and Planning

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06/30/2020 | 05:34pm EDT

Sacramento, June 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On Thursday, July 4th, 2019 at 10:33 a.m. Pacific Time, as millions of Californian’s prepared to celebrate Independence Day, a magnitude 6.4 foreshock earthquake struck 10 miles southwest of Searles Valley, CA. The next day, a 7.1 earthquake struck the Mojave Desert, causing fissures on the desert floor, damage to roads and multiple aftershocks. 

Much of downtown Los Angeles felt the impact of this larger July 5th earthquake, alongside reports of shaking as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area and as far south as Baja California, Mexico.

One year later, in recognition of the event, the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is reminding businesses and residents that tools and resources are available through the California Earthquake Early Warning System. The California MyShake App, a mobile application available at no cost through the App Store and on Google Play, may provide a few seconds notice to users in advance of an earthquake. The app uses technology to rapidly detect seismic waves as an earthquake begins, calculates the maximum expected shaking, and sends alerts to MyShake users in the surrounding area to take cover before damaging shaking arrives.  

With a few seconds of advance warning, MyShake users can take protective actions to Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Businesses can also help employees prepare in advance of an earthquake and take protective actions when an early warning is issued, such as initiating elevator recalls to the ground floor, placing sensitive equipment in safe mode, securing hazardous materials, or halting production lines to reduce damage.

The app also enables users to act as “Citizen Scientists” to collect, detect, and record valuable information during an earthquake that can be used to refine future MyShake warnings. Users can provide crowdsourced information to help others, such as sharing information about their experience or reporting damage caused by the quake. In order for the app to be effective, users must ensure that location services are enabled on their mobile phone to allow the app to detect when users are in the vicinity of an earthquake. 

“Last year’s Ridgecrest earthquake is a stark reminder that a seismic event can strike at any time with far reaching impact. A few seconds of warning can go a long way to help Californians take cover and stay safe in an earthquake,” said Rachel Sierer Wooden, M.A., Branch Chief, Seismic Hazards Branch, California Governor's Office of Emergency Services. “At Cal OES, our aim is to help link families and employers across the state to earthquake early warning resources such as the MyShake App, that can help save lives and minimize negative consequences from an earthquake.” 

Cal OES has an ambitious goal of encouraging at least 4 million users to download and use the MyShake App - this will strengthen the data foundation for the alert system, while also positioning more businesses and families to be safe and be prepared  

While the goal is to provide alerts before shaking is felt, there may be incidents where an alert is sent during or shortly after an earthquake is felt. The California Earthquake Early Warning System is based on innovative technology that will improve over time.

For official information about the California Earthquake Early Warning System, visit: earthquake.ca.gov and the Cal OES Newsroom.


Brian Ferguson
California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services

© GlobeNewswire 2020
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