Developers testing an earthquake early warning system for the West Coast say its automated alerts are ready to be used more broadly, but not for mass public notification.

U.S. Geological Survey official Doug Given told reporters Wednesday at California Institute of Technology that the ShakeAlert system has transitioned from a production prototype to operational mode.

FILE – This Sept. 13, 2011 file photo shows a computer replication of the 6.7 magnitude Northridge Earthquake of 1994 during a demonstration of an early earthquake warning system at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. Developers testing an earthquake early warning system for the West Coast say its alerts are ready to be used much more broadly, but not for mass public notification. U.S. Geological Survey official Doug Given told reporters Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 at Caltech that the ShakeAlert system has transitioned from a production prototype to operational mode. The system is being built for California, Oregon and Washington. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

The system being built for California, Oregon and Washington detects an earthquake is occurring and send out alerts that may give warnings of few seconds to perhaps a minute before shaking arrives at locations away from the epicenter.

FILE – This March 11, 2009 file photo shows an antenna to send data stands on a rise above an earthquake monitoring well, right, powered by a solar electric panel, lower left, as scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey set up an earthquake monitoring station on the San Andreas Fault in a desert canyon near Thermal, Calif. Developers testing an earthquake early warning system for the West Coast say its alerts are ready to be used much more broadly, but not for mass public notification. U.S. Geological Survey official Doug Given told reporters Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 at the California Institute of Technology that the ShakeAlert system has transitioned from a production prototype to operational mode. The system is being built for California, Oregon and Washington. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Select industries, utilities, schools and other entities have been using ShakeAlert for years, and officials say it can be used more widely.

FILE – This March 11, 2009 file photo shows a completed earthquake monitoring station, with instrument well, foreground, solar power generating panels, right rear, and an antenna to transmit data, on hill at left, near the San Andreas Fault in a desert canyon near Thermal, Calif. Developers testing an earthquake early warning system for the West Coast say its alerts are ready to be used much more broadly, but not for mass public notification. U.S. Geological Survey official Doug Given told reporters Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 at the California Institute of Technology that the ShakeAlert system has transitioned from a production prototype to operational mode. The system is being built for California, Oregon and Washington. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Officials say, however, that cellphone technology is too slow for mass alerts.

Source: The Associated Press

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