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SoCal Lawmaker Calls For Early Quake Warning System

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PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — A San Fernando Valley lawmaker Monday announced plans to create a statewide earthquake warning system in California.

State Senator Alex Padilla formally announced the legislation on the heels of a new study that a major earthquake involving both the Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas may be possible.

Scientists have long warned of the so-called “Big One” in California, but Padilla (D-Pacoima) was joined by a panel of experts representing the U.S. Geological Survey, Caltech, UC Berkeley, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to outline details of the potential threat at the California Institute of Technology Seismological Laboratory.

“The technology is there to be able to give us that 30- to 60-second warning before the shaking starts,” Padilla said.

“The earthquake warning would not only alert the public; it would also speed the response of police and fire personnel by quickly identifying areas hardest hit by the quake,” he added.

The initial cost estimate for the system is $80 million, KNX 1070’s John Brooks reported.

The California Institute of Technology and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology published a study earlier this month concluding for the first time that a fault slip similar to the 2011 magnitude-9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake could occur in California.

But Douglas Given, Early Warning Project Coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey, said any statewide early warning system would have to be built in phases — and with outside funding.

“Before we can make a system that is reliable enough to issue public warnings, we need additional support from either federal, state, or local funding sources,” Given said.

Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Turkey, Romania, Italy and China either have or are working on earthquake early warning systems.

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