New Mobile App Gives California Residents a Warning Seconds Before Quakes Hit

Published On: October 5, 2021

When it comes to emergencies, especially natural disasters, seconds can mean the difference between life and death.

MyShake is a mobile app that alerts California residents a few seconds before an earthquake hits, allowing time to take cover or get to a nearby safe spot.

The mobile app is managed by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). According to Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci, the MyShake app is the country’s first publicly available statewide earthquake warning system.

“Cal OES’s leadership facilitated making warnings publicly available. The public can now have moments of warning before previously unexpected natural disasters. It is changing the world of mitigation and emergency management,” said Ghilarducci in a press release.

MyShake uses statewide ground-motion sensors to sense earthquakes before humans can feel the tremors and sends an alert to users’ phones to “drop, cover, and hold on.”

As a reminder to how important earthquake safety is, The Great Shakeout Earthquake drills (a worldwide movement) are generally held on the third Thursday of October, falling on October 21 this year. MyShake app users are able to register and participate in these drills and will receive a “test warning” at 10:15am that morning with “guidance to Drop, Cover, and Hold on.”

According to Cal OES, the appropriate safety responses to an earthquake are as follows:

  • Drop onto your hands and knees where you are
  • Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand
  • Crawl underneath a nearby sturdy table or desk for shelter
  • If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows)
  • Stay on your knees, bend over to protect vital organs
  • Hold on until shaking stops
  • While under shelter: hold on to it with one hand and be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts
  • No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands

Visit www.earthquake.ca.gov for more information about the MyShake app and earthquake preparedness.

About the Author: Jaivon Grant

Jaivon Grant covers energy and technology issues. He is a former journalist and political commentator with Our Weekly in Los Angeles, CA. He can be reached at jaivon at govreport.org.