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Early Earthquake Warning Network Given Green Light

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posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 10:18 AM
Early Earthquake Warning Network Given Green Light

Posted: Dec 8, 2009 10:52 AM CST

A simulation shows the magnitude of an earthquake hitting the Salton Sea area
PALM DESERT - There are plans for a new early earthquake warning system which will alert residents when a major quake is coming within seconds.

A major earthquake along the San Andreas Fault could devastate the Coachella Valley.

Every second will count when "the big one" eventually hits, so plans for the first regional earthquake warning system in the nation are set.

It's called "CREWS" or "Coachella Valley Regional Earthquake Warning System."

Monday night -- the Coachella Valley Association of Governments voted unanimously to move ahead with the project.

"This early warning system, if we can network this through the valley it will save lives.. It's critically important," said Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet.

Palm Springs Fire Chief Blake Goetz first started working with the technology years ago.

In the early signs of an earthquake, the system sounds an alarm, turns on lights and opens fire doors.

It now provides early detection for fire stations around the valley.

Seismic Warning Systems CEO George Dickson says the "CREWS" Project will expand the system, turning it into a network which will include all schools in the local districts.

"We're looking at protecting 80,000 kids and staff members," said Dickson. "That makes me extremely happy."

"You give a school an extra 8-10 seconds to get those kids to 'duck, cover and hold,' you clearly are going to be saving people's lives," said CVAG Executive Director Tom Kirk.

The system instantly detects the intensity of an earthquake.

An expanded network is expected to double the warning time anywhere from 6 to 60 seconds -- before the shaking starts.

"I think it's important for this valley to take a leadership position on this.. Try it here.. If it can be done here, it can be done anywhere," said Dickson. "This will be emulated, cookie-cuttered through California and then 36 other earthquake-prone countries in the world."

The next hurdle is money. The project costs $3 million dollars. Dickson says they're looking at fundraising efforts.

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