Calif. Lawmakers to Vote on Earthquake Warning System

Lawmakers are poised on Thursday to vote on SB 135, proposed by State Sen. Alex Padilla, on a bill that would facilitate the development of a statewide early warning system earthquakes.

The bill would direct the Office of Emergency Services to collaborate with the Seismic Safety Commission, UC Berkeley and the USGS to work on an early warning system.  It could give 30 seconds warning – maybe more – that a quake was coming. 

Scientists can predict risks, but precise timing and strength is the challenge.  The system envisioned would be like one similar to those being used in places like Japan and Mexico.  However, the infrastructure is not in place.  It would require  the technology for a network of accurate sensors plus the technology to trigger an alert.

This bill would give the OES the responsible for managing the system.  Estimates are the system could cost $80 million.  The bill would need to go back to the Senate before heading to the governor’s desk.

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