Remember - people may be referring to these plans under adverse conditions so they need to be straightforward and easy to read and understand.
It is designed to be simple and flexible - a guide or prompt for management action rather than a detailed procedure. From Mind Map Art, here's a concept map that illustrates a systematic approach to an emergency action plan. After a devastating 8.1 earthquake in 1985 which may have killed upwards of 10,000 people, Mexico's government was determined to find a way to prevent this kind of loss of life again. In fact, Mexico is one a handful of seismically active countries that have a early warning systems.
If you've been in an earthquake, you can understand how an early warning system might work by watching a rudimentary version of it that gets used every single time: Twitter.
Given shows me one scenario they call the ShakeOut scenario, a hypothetical 7.8 earthquake that would strike near the Salton Sea, about 150 miles away from Los Angeles (about the same distance that last month's quake was from Mexico City). But earthquakes don't simply ripple out from a central point like a stone dropped in a pond. But what I was more surprised about is how long it took for the shaking from such a large earthquake to travel to my home.
The app was only for iPhone until recently, so when it came out for Android she installed it on her Nexus tablet. For Americans, the closest thing to an earthquake early warning system that we've experienced is a relatively new feature courtesy of our smartphones: the Amber Alerts or warnings from the National Weather Service, which essentially blanket a geographic area with pertinent information.
This is the Wireless Emergency Alert system, which takes the warning system you know best from those screeching tones on the radio and scrolling messages running across the bottom of your local television coverage, and shifts it to the cellular phone network.
There are three levels of messages for the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS): Amber Alerts, for a child abduction, hazard alerts for weather, and the presidential alert, which would be something like, there's a meteorite heading towards Earth and we're all going to die (this has obviously never been used). But the issue with IPAWS is that while it's fast for, say, Amber Alerts or inclement weather, it's not fast enough for earthquakes.


After studying how people react in a crisis, the Sellnows have developed a theory they call the IDEA Model, which drives their strategy for what to include in this kind of warning communication. Currently the messaging is going through its final testing phase and will soon be ready for full-on app development. Most stories are anecdotal, like a semiconductor plant in Sendai which not only uses early warning data from the Japanese Meteorological Agency, it also placed its own sensors in the factory which could detect movement and shut down the plant. When alerted to seismic activity, San Francisco's BART system will stop or slow trains or hold them at the station. BART is a perfect candidate for helping to illustrate to city leaders the importance of an early warning: It's in a city prone to earthquakes, it's a critical part of the infrastructure that needs to keep running, and it has proven that a train that's not moving is less likely to be derailed. You would think that something so simple, which could protect transit infrastructure and emergency crews, would be enough to motivate the country to implement the warning system. Luckily, the ground has been nudging earthquake safety back into the national consciousness, which is a very good thing, according to Given.
Mexico City residents knew that this 6.4 earthquake was rippling towards their homes because, in 1992, they launched an effective system that's able to tell millions of people that an earthquake is on the way. When the shaking starts, our first instinct is to reach for our phones and post our take on the situation. Earthquakes move through the ground at roughly the speed of sound; data can travel at the speed of light. In California, for example, the USGS operates the seismic network in cooperation with Caltech and UC Berkeley. And they're able to create models which can predict how quickly and how powerfully those variables will reach specific areas during a major earthquake.
In this form, with the honking Area 51-esque alarm, the whole thing seems a bit terrifying.
The major faults in Mexico are located off the Pacific coast, so a large earthquake can really only be generated offshore.


It was clear that the societal effects of the deadly earthquake that was almost 30 years ago were still fresh in her mind. Imagine that an earthquake starts now: The data is processed by the sensors, confirmed at the seismic center, sent to the carriers, and then broadcast out.
For a brief message like this, the seismologists actually have quite a bit of information to pass along to users: The epicenter of the earthquake that can be plotted on a map, the rupture in the fault, the magnitude, the expected intensity, and also the number of seconds before the strongest shaking arrives.
Angelenos might shrug, but during the May 8 Mexico earthquake, which happened during the work day, people streamed into the streets, just like Eguiluz told me she would do.
Simply comparing the damage the factory experienced in an earthquake before the safety measures and after the safety measures, the company estimated it saved almost $15 million in damages. Not only are structures weakened from the original quake at this point, but firefighters and police are in those structures looking for people. So an earthquake can be detected and reported long before the shaking starts at your house, he says. You can watch how the earthquake ruptures along the fault, which helps the waves to travel even further in a certain direction. The most devastation from earthquakes, historically, has occurred in Mexico City, which is not only home to the largest population in the country, but also carries the most risk as a large portion of the historic city center is built on a filled-in lake. You may have been riding on a BART train, in fact, when it stopped for a moment in anticipation of a small quake rumbling through the Bay Area. It seems like a no-brainer that San Francisco would want to invest in something that would ensure that its transit system would escape major damage and might continue to run after an earthquake. So what will likely happen is that an app might roll out for California first, then be available for the rest of the country.



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