Although no one can reliably predict earthquakes, today’s technology is advanced enough to rapidly detect seismic waves as an earthquake begins, calculate the maximum expected shaking, and send alerts to surrounding areas before damage can occur. This technology is known as “earthquake early warning” (EEW). An EEW system called “ShakeAlert” is being developed and tested for the West Coast of the United States.
“EEW is a game changer with respect to postdisaster recovery,” Johnson said. “By using EEW to minimize derailments, lives will be saved, injuries will be reduced, and the impacts to a postdisaster-stressed medical system will be minimized.”