Local News

Early-Warning System for Earthquakes Urged

PASADENA, Calif. (KTLA) — A state lawmaker is proposing legislation to create an earthquake early-warning system for California.

Supporters of the technology, including Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), say it’s about improving public safety for Los Angeles and all of California.

They say it’s not a question of if — but when — the next big quake will hit here.

Right now, Caltech is testing out this technology, which is already used in other parts of the world.

On Monday, Caltech seismologists demonstrated how people miles from the quake’s epicenter would have critical seconds to react before they would feel the earth shake.

The potentially life-saving information would be relayed to devices like your cell phone or computer and help speed up the emergency response.

Padilla says the technology is long overdue in California, which includes the very active San Andreas fault zone.

He is introducing legislation to create a statewide system that would eventually connect to 1,000 seismic stations across the state.

The pricey project would cost about $80 million, but Padillas says it’s a wise investment when you consider the potential toll from a major earthquake.

The Northridge quake in 1994 killed 60 people and caused about $13 billion in damage.

When a mega 9.0 quake struck Japan last year, it’s believed lives were saved becasue it’s already using the most advanced warning system in the world.

Padilla believes lawmakers must make securing the money for the project a priority through a combination of state and federal funding.

And once funding is in place, scientists believe it would take a year or so to get the system fully online — hopefully before the next big one hits.