Today was the first meeting of the California Earthquake Early Warning Advisory Board at the State Capitol. The board consists of leaders from the state agencies, academia, private and public industry, as well as other subject matter experts. Watch the Cal OES Quick Look video below for more on how the inaugural meeting went.
The board was formed after the Governor approved $10 million last year to increase financial support to the state’s seismic network, which consists of researching when and where earthquakes occur in California. This governance structure serves as a venue for public input on development of the system, as well as oversees implementation of California’s Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) program and provides insight.
Members of the board included representatives from Cal OES, California Natural Resources, California Health and Human Services, California State Transportation Agency, Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, California State University, University of California, and PG&E.
Cal OES Director and Chair Mark Ghilarducci explained that collaborating and leveraging successful partnerships with entities such as the California Integrated Seismic Network, California Geological Survey, U.S. Geological Survey, California Institute of Technology, and industries from the public and private sector will assist in fulfilling the objectives of the program. “Partnerships across the board including public, private, and government will make sure we meet our goals,” he said.
During the meeting, presentations were made by Cal OES Deputy Director of Planning, Preparedness and Prevention Tina Curry, who informed members of the history of EEW and the work that has already been conducted. She said that input from the board would be essential in laying out the road map for next steps because of the importance of this program and its complexity. “Senate Bill 438 recognized the importance of EEW to California,” she added. “California is a leader and role model to other parts of the nation and the world.” A sentiment echoed by PG&E Vice President and Board Member Barry Anderson, “California has been taking the lead in developing California’s Early Warning System and it will get done.”
Most of the funding will be used to install and upgrade 183 seismic sensors throughout the state. These sensors are the key component to detecting an earthquake. There are also on-going pilot programs testing different methods delivering the information gathered from these sensors to what would become a warning. The use of cell phones, television, and other methods were all discussed during the meeting with more to come.
As the development of EEW becomes more of a reality for those living or visiting California, there are certain to be challenges along the way. One of those challenges could come in the way of funding. “There are always challenges particular with a program like this, but this is a lifesaving program,” said Ghilarducci. “Not only is it lifesaving, but there is a mitigation aspect, which will help buy down the risk and California can recovery more quickly after an earthquake. It is important that we make sure there is the funding to make it reliable. California has an obligation to ensure this system becomes operational.”
For more information about California’s Earthquake Early Warning Program visit Cal OES Earthquake Early Warning page.
You can view the California Earthquake Early Warning Advisory Board meeting in its entirety below: