How do I sign up for the ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning System?

The USGS issues ShakeAlert® Messages, but those alerts are delivered by FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) via public and private means including internet, radio, television, cellular, and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)

Many USGS partners across California, Oregon, and Washington already use ShakeAlert Messages to enhance public safety. Water and gas utilities, transit systems, and emergency facilities (like fire stations and hospitals) alert staff to take proactive actions such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On. They also trigger automated actions such as opening a fire house door so first responders can do their job. 

Three mobile apps that are powered by ShakeAlert are currently available to public users. All of the apps can be freely downloaded in the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores: 

  • The City of Los Angeles released a cell phone app that delivers earthquake alerts to Los Angeles County residents. Learn more about the City of L.A. app
  • The MyShakeTM app was developed by UC Berkeley and is sponsored by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Learn more about MyShakeTM
  • The QuakeAlertUSA app is a product of Early Warning Labs, LLC in collaboration with state and federal agencies. Learn more about QuakeAlertUSA
  • In 2020, Google released an earthquake alert feature that is powered by ShakeAlert. This service is only available on wireless devices using the Android operating system. 

(The USGS does not directly or indirectly endorse any product or service provided, or to be provided, by these licensees) 

The testing of alert delivery throughout California commenced in 2019. The USGS is working closely with partners in Washington and Oregon to expand public testing of ShakeAlert to those states in 2021.  

These products should not be confused with the USGS Earthquake Notification Service (ENS), which is a free, customizable service that sends out automated emails or texts whenever earthquakes occur in whatever area you designate. ENS is NOT an early warning system.

Learn more:

Related Content

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At what magnitude does damage begin to occur in an earthquake?

It isn't that simple. There is not one magnitude above which damage will occur. It depends on other variables, such as the distance from the earthquake, what type of soil you are on, etc. That being said, damage does not usually occur until the earthquake magnitude reaches somewhere above 4 or 5. Learn more: Earthquake Magnitude, Energy Release,...

Can the National Seismic Hazard Maps be used as an earthquake forecast tool for the near future?

Not really. The USGS Seismic Hazard Maps website and the Unified Hazard Tool (for building custom maps) are designed to display the probability of different events that might occur in a several-year to several-decade period. The model bases all probability estimates on the average rate of earthquakes over long periods of time. As you shorten the...

Are earthquake probabilities or forecasts the same as prediction?

No. Probabilities and forecasts are rather like climate probabilities and weather forecasts, while predictions are more like statements of when, where, and how large, which is not yet possible for earthquakes. Probabilities describe the long-term chances that an earthquake of a certain magnitude will happen during a time window. Most earthquake...

What are the earthquake hazards/risks where I live?

Determining your risk with regard to earthquakes, or more precisely shaking from earthquakes, isn't as simple as finding the nearest fault. The chances of experiencing shaking from an earthquake and/or having property damage is dependent on many different factors. The National Hazard Maps use all available data to estimate the chances of shaking (...

What is seismic hazard? What is a seismic hazard map? How are they made? How are they used? Why are there different maps, and which one should I use?

Seismic hazard is the hazard associated with potential earthquakes in a particular area, and a seismic hazard map shows the relative hazards in different areas. The maps are made by considering what we currently know about: Past faults and earthquakes The behavior of seismic waves as they travel through different parts of the U.S. crust The near-...

What are the Great ShakeOut earthquake drills?

ShakeOut GIF ShakeOut GIF showing what to do in an earthquake if you are near a sturdy desk or table. (Public domain.) The Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are based on scenario earthquakes that could effect the area if they were to actually take place. Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are an...

What can I expect in my house when an earthquake occurs? How do I identify it? What can be done?

The contents of your home may be damaged and can be dangerous: Shaking can make light fixtures fall, refrigerators and other large items move across the floor, and bookcases and television sets topple over. IDENTIFY: Look around your house for things that could fall or move. Ask yourself if your cupboard doors could fly open (allowing dishes to...

What should I do DURING an earthquake?

If you are INDOORS -- STAY THERE! Get under a desk or table and hang on to it ( Drop, Cover, and Hold on! ) or move into a hallway or against an inside wall. STAY CLEAR of windows, fireplaces, and heavy furniture or appliances. GET OUT of the kitchen, which is a dangerous place (things can fall on you). DON'T run downstairs or rush outside while...

What can I do to be prepared for an earthquake?

There are four basic steps you can take to be more prepared for an earthquake: Step 1: Secure your space by identifying hazards and securing moveable items. Step 2: Plan to be safe by creating a disaster plan and deciding how you will communicate in an emergency. Step 3: Organize disaster supplies in convenient locations. Step 4: Minimize...

What should I NOT do during an earthquake?

DO NOT turn on the gas again if you turned it off; let the gas company do it DO NOT use matches, lighters, camp stoves or barbecues, electrical equipment, appliances UNTIL you are sure there are no gas leaks. They may create a spark that could ignite leaking gas and cause an explosion and fire DO NOT use your telephone, EXCEPT for a medical or...

Can you predict earthquakes?

No. Neither the USGS nor any other scientists have ever predicted a major earthquake. We do not know how, and we do not expect to know how any time in the foreseeable future. USGS scientists can only calculate the probability that a significant earthquake will occur in a specific area within a certain number of years. An earthquake prediction must...
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Date published: October 17, 2019

All Systems Go for First Statewide Testing of ShakeAlert in the United States

Today, the U.S. Geological Survey and the State of California pressed the “go” button to allow the first-ever statewide public testing of the California Early Earthquake Warning System, which is powered by USGS’s earthquake early warning alerts, called ShakeAlerts.

Date published: October 17, 2019

What if the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System Had Been Operating During the M6.9 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake?

How will ShakeAlert® likely perform now on a large earthquake impacting a major urban area? How much warning will you get? To answer this, let’s do a thought experiment...

Read the new Science for Everyone article at What if the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System...

Date published: October 7, 2019

USGS ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System

Next week, USGS and the nation commemorate the 30th anniversary of one of the most destructive earthquake disasters in U.S. history – the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in northern California. The magnitude 6.9 quake struck on October 17 in the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area near Santa Cruz and was responsible for the deaths of 63 people and more than 3,500 injuries.

Date published: March 27, 2018

Earthquake Early Warning! New Study Examines Safety Potentials and Limits

In a newly published study, U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their partners calculate possible alert times that earthquake early warning systems can provide people at different levels of ground motion from light to very strong shaking.

Filter Total Items: 7
July 17, 2019

ShakeAlert Sensor and Station

This is b-roll footage of a ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system seismic station. These seismic stations and sensors are deployed around California and are used to monitor earthquake activity.
 

Gentleman setting up early earthquake warning sensors
December 31, 2018

B-Roll: Northwest ShakeAlert Sensor Station

Maintenance of a high-quality ShakeAlert sensors, power and telemetry stations in Portland, OR.

Gentleman working with Early Earthquake Warning Sensors
December 31, 2018

B-Roll: California ShakeAlert Sensor

Maintenance of high quality ShakeAlert sensor, power and telemetry station in the San Francisco Bay Area in California.

January 25, 2018

PubTalk 1/2018 — ShakeAlert: Path to West Coast EQ Early Warning

Title: ShakeAlert: The Path to West Coast Earthquake Early Warning ... how a few seconds can save lives and property

  • The ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system will begin limited operations this year.
  • Alerts could save lives and properties but several challenges remain.
  • With millions at risk, why isn't full public alerting happening yet?
ShakeAlert steps: Detection and processing, Deliver, Protect

ShakeAlert Steps

ShakeAlert Steps:

DETECTION AND PROCESSING (USGS) 

Using sensors in the field, the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning system DETECTS ground motion from an earthquake that has already begun and passes that information to a PROCESSING center. ShakeAlert quickly estimates the location, magnitude, and shaking intensity of the earthquake and if the event fits the

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example ShakeAlert message

Example ShakeAlert Message

A user of ShakeAlert™ receives a message like this on the screen of his computer. The message alerts the user to how many seconds before the shaking waves arrive at their location and the expected intensity of shaking at that site. The shaking intensity follows the Modified Mercalli scale; an intensity of VI, as shown here, would mean the shaking is felt by everyone,

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ShakeAlert Poster

ShakeAlert Poster

ShakeAlert Poster