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'ShakeAlert' test message for Earthquake Early Warning System buzzes San Diego County phones

Posted at 5:44 AM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 21:37:21-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego County residents received a loud earthquake alert on their phones Thursday morning that served as a test of California’s Earthquake Early Warning System.

On June 27 at 11 a.m., all wireless phones across the county -- regardless of whether they belonged to a permanent resident or not -- emitted a loud sound and displayed a text alert message notifying users of the "ShakeAlert" test.

The “message with the subject line “Emergency Alert” went out to over 3 million mobile phone users in San Diego and it read: “TEST of the CA Earthquake Warning System. No action required. THIS IS A TEST.”

RELATED: Earthquake warning system expanding across SoCal

The messaging looked similar to those sent during AMBER Alert situations or severe weather issues.

State and local officials have worked with the U.S. Geological Survey to develop the so-called ShakeAlert system since 2006, using underground seismic activity sensors to detect the first ripples from an earthquake.

The system's first phase went into effect last fall in California, Oregon and Washington. Eventually, USGS officials hope to continue expanding the alert system across the country with the ability to alert people of earthquakes of a magnitude of 5.0 and above.

The county’s Officer of Emergency Services collaborated with the governor’s Office of Emergency Services and USGS to conduct Thursday's test.

Technology to warn citizens of an earthquake is already available for Los Angeles County residents in the form of the ShakeAlertLA mobile app.

The app, the country’s first publicly available earthquake early warning mobile app, provides alerts for earthquakes in LA County that are magnitude 5.0 or greater.

If you did not recevie the alert, the county wants to hear from you as they work to tweak some bugs. You can fill out an online survey here.

City News Service contributed to this report.