ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning
On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, the ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning system will go live in Washington, completing the West Coast rollout of the new technology, which is capable of giving residents and visitors seconds of warning before earthquake shaking arrives.
ShakeAlert® is not earthquake prediction. The alert system detects earthquakes that have already begun, rapidly estimates the shaking they will create, then sends an alert to areas which will receive shaking.
The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) is a system that broadcasts public safety messages (like AMBER Alerts) over the commercial cellular system. Customers with compatible mobile phones can receive geographically targeted, text-like messages alerting them to threats to safety in their area. All WEA alerts, regardless of type, behave the same. The device makes a distinctive notification sound and vibration and the message pops up in a text window on the screen.
If shaking from an earthquake is expected at your location, the message will say:
- English: Earthquake Detected! Drop, Cover, Hold On. Protect Yourself. -USGS ShakeAlert
- Spanish: Terremoto detectado! Agachese, cubrase, sujetese. Protejase. -USGS ShakeAlert
How Do I Receive Alerts? Visit the Washington State Emergency Management Division to verify if your mobile device settings are turned on.
How Does ShakeAlert® Work?
The following video explains what the system is, how it works, and the multiple ways you can get alerts on your mobile phone.
ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning Webinar
Washington State Emergency Management Division has an in-depth webinar explaining ShakeAlert® and the benefits of this new technology.
Hear directly from companies that will show how ShakeAlert helps automatically close water valves to protect water supplies and lift fire station doors so first responders can get vehicles and equipment out, among many other capabilities. The Washington Emergency Management Division, Pacific Northwest Seismic Network and private partners also explain how people can receive alerts via mobile phones through the existing Wireless Emergency Alert system.