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Monday, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) announced that congress has included $5 million in the Fiscal Year 2015 funding bill, also known as the CROmnibus, for a West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System.
This is the first time congress has ever provided funding specifically for the system. A limited system developed by Caltech, UC-Berkeley and University of Washington, in conjunction with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), has already been deployed and has proven that the early warning technology is sound, officials said. The $5 million in funding will allow those developing the statewide system to begin purchasing and installing additional sensors, build new stations, speed up the ShakeAlert system and come closer to deploying comprehensive early earthquake warning coverage throughout earthquake prone regions of the West Coast.
“An earthquake early-warning system is essential to save lives, reduce property damage and protect critical infrastructure. This five million dollar federal investment is a down payment on building an integrated, state-wide system,” Feinstein said. “These federal dollars are sorely needed, but more funding is still necessary to complete the system. While the state and private sector must contribute their fair share, I will continue to work with West Coast senators and representatives to prioritize federal funds for this life-saving project. We must get it done before the next major earthquake strikes.”
“It’s absolutely critical that the West Coast implement and build out an earthquake early warning system to give us a heads up before the ‘big one’ hits, so we can save lives and protect infrastructure,” Schiff added. “This funding will help build out additional stations, speed up the ShakeAlert system and make it more reliable in our highest priority areas — including Los Angeles and the Bay Area — and those critical few seconds or a minute of warning will allow people to seek cover, automatically slow or stop trains, and pause surgeries. This first phase of funding will allow the work to begin expanding the system, and we will continue to work to secure future funding along with our other federal, state and local partners.”
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