Mobile phones in San Diego County will receive a ShakeAlert later this month as part of a test of an early warning system, county officials said Friday.
The alert will involve a loud tone and a text message and will be received by all mobile phones in the county, even those registered to non-residents.
"If you're in danger, anything that alerts you ahead of time definitely would help," said Steve Omoro Monday, who lives in Paradise Hills.
Because technology exists to detect earthquakes quickly, the state is working with U.S. Geological Survey officials and university partners to develop a warning system to let residents know before strong shaking arrives.
A few seconds is enough time to scramble for protection, slow trains, halt industrial processes, trigger back-up power generators and pause surgeries at hospitals.
"If people get the alert while driving, seconds would be enough time to safely pull off to the side of the road," said Holly Porter of the San Diego County Emergency Services Office.
Under the proposed system, seismic waves alert officials to the earthquake and once the maximum expected shaking is calculated, officials will be able to send an alert before the damaging waves arrive.
"There are 45 seismic censors in San Diego County alone," added Porter. "Those censors detect the first waves that come from an earthquake."
ShakeAlert has been in development since 2006 and uses 400 ground motion sensors to gather the data.
On Thursday, June 27 at 11 a.m. the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services will send a test signal.
There will be no action needed and no danger for residents, officials said.