Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti officially announced the launch of the county’s new early warning earthquake app Thursday.
ShakeAlertLA, which is designed to work with the United States Geological Survey’s earthquake early warning system, is the nation’s first publicly available early warning mobile app.
The app was released unannounced on New Year’s Eve, but was quickly discovered by users who shared the news, the Los Angeles Times reported.
It is designed to warn the public about earthquakes with a magnitude 5.0 or higher a few seconds before the shaking arrives.
“We believe it will make Angelinos safer. It will save lives by giving precious seconds to you and to your family to take action and to protect yourselves when the next magnitude 5.0 earthquake or bigger hits … this technology is truly cutting edge,” Garcetti said during a news conference at City Hall Thursday.
The warning system should allow enough time for trains to slow, cars to avoid entering bridges or tunnels, and for people to take cover under a desk, the shakealert.org website stated.
The alerts apply to Los Angeles County only, according to the app.