For the first time ever a newly developed earthquake early warning system will be used in Washington State. The system called ShakeAlert (developed by the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) along with a coalition of State and university partners), can help better prepare infrastructure providers and other critical services by allowing time to react before the ground begins to shake. Think about stopping a surgery before the building begins to shake or closing bridges before the ground acceleration causes damage or structural failure.
The technology is in use in Japan and in California and Oregon. When connected
to the system, an alert will be received on a display system featuring a map, location of the epicenter, and a countdown to "impact" or when the seismic waves arrive. A computerized voice counts down as the screen provides visual information in the form of seconds to impact. If you live close to the epicenter you will have less warning than if you live farther away.
Watch a demonstration video how ShakeAlert will work.
For more information about local earthquakes you can go to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.