LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — Android users in California will no longer need to download an app to get alerts about earthquakes.
California’s earthquake early warnings will be a standard feature on all Android phones, bypassing the need for users to download the state’s MyShake app in order to receive alerts, the California Office of Emergency Services said.
The state worked with the U.S. Geological Survey and Google, the maker of Android, to build the quake alerts into all phones that run the commonplace operating system.
The deal was expected to be announced Tuesday.
“This announcement means that California’s world-class earthquake early warning system will be a standard function on every Android phone — giving millions precious seconds to drop, cover and hold on when the big one hits,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
The technology does not predict earthquakes. It is designed to quickly take data from seismic sensors and send warnings to potentially affected areas if a quake of magnitude 4.5 or greater occurs and if the projected shaking at a particular location is at a certain level of intensity.
The technology was initially designed to only send out alerts at a magnitude 5 or greater, but that threshold was lowered to 4.5 after the two massive Ridgecrest earthquakes in July of 2019 for which L.A. County residents did not receive any alerts.
In the early morning hours of July 30, a 4.2-magnitude earthquake struck the Pacoima area of the San Fernando Valley. It was felt across the Southland and was followed up by more than 60 aftershocks. Some with ShakeAlertLA, Los Angeles County’s version of the MyShake app, reported receiving a notification, while others did not.
The MyShake technology — developed by the USGS and the University of California, Berkeley — was released in early 2019.
Warnings produced by the ShakeAlert system are also pushed through the wireless notification system that issues Amber Alerts, meaning some people receive both notifications.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)