California quake warning system not in Washington

SEATTLE — A lab in California heard an alert seconds before the Napa earthquake reached it. That technology is not yet available in Washington state.

But scientists in Washington are working with the U.S. Geological Survey to set up an earthquake early warning system called Shake Alert, KING-TV reported.

University of Washington professor John Vidale said they want to make the system available to the public but they don’t have the money to finish building it and Congress isn’t willing to spend at least $17 million a year to run the system.

Sen. Patty Murray’s office said the program is among her priorities, but a bill to provide the money hasn’t made it beyond committee.

Emergency managers hope last weekend’s Napa quake will change that. They say Shake Alert could save lives by allowing people to get to a safe place moments before a quake hits.

“What can people do with that time? Well just in a 10-15 second time-frame that’s enough to put an emergency stop on some industrial equipment, you can slow an elevator, you can take a quake-safe action get somewhere secure,” said Debbie Goetz, spokeswoman for the Seattle Office of Emergency Management.

Private companies also are developing similar technology they say is just as effective as what the USGS came up with, and they hope to do it more cheaply. Seismic Warning Systems says it’s preparing to make a big push to sell their system in Washington state.

USGS has an experimental Shake Alert system in place in Seattle, but according to Vidale it’s “nowhere near ready to warn people.”

He proposes rolling out the system to 10-20 agencies and groups which respond in emergencies before giving access to the general public.

More in Local News

Army nurse from Everett has vivid memories of ‘forgotten war’

Barbara Jean Nichols, 95, served near the front lines in Korea and Vietnam, and in Germany.

In county overdose crisis, nasal spray has saved 100 lives

About 900 local law enforcement officers have been trained to use naloxone to revive opioid users.

Edmonds to add bike lanes in two areas

Crews will begin the first phase of work Thursday and Friday, weather permitting.

Woman fatally shot at home near Everett

Another woman and three children, who were also in the home, were not injured.

Serial killer wannabe admits trying to kill man she met online

She told police she planned to rip out her victim’s heart and eat it — and would continue killing.

Woman injured after losing control of her pickup

A 50-year-old woman was injured Tuesday after her pickup lost… Continue reading

Boy stuck in child care instead of going to school

District says it can no longer provide transportation for the special-needs student.

Hurry! Target will take your old car seat, but not for long

The seats will be taken apart and the various materials recycled.

Sheriff’s Office receives national recognition

Sheriff accepts award “notable achievements in the field of highway safety” over the past year.

Most Read