SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Dr. Richard Allen, a UC Berkeley scientist, is weighing in on the success of earthquake early-warning technology in the wake of the recent Napa quake.
Allen is director of the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, which received a 5-second warning before the first waves of the Napa quake rolled through.
Allen told KCBS’ In Depth co-hosts Jeff Bell and Ed Cavagnaro that even just a few seconds of advance warning can make a huge difference in terms of preparedness and he dismisses concerns about any potential panic that could be created.
“This has been discussed a lot; there are people who are concerned about this, of course—quite rightfully perhaps. However, there are other early-warning systems in other places around the world. Mexico City has had a system for several decades. Japan turned on their nationwide public system in 2007. Both cases they have issued warnings—multiple warnings that have been broadly distributed and we have no real evidence of panicked responses or harm coming by virtue of actually issuing the alarms. So of course we want to educate the public,” he said.
“A very important piece of rolling out a public system is a full-blown education campaign so people understand what an earthquake early warning can do and what they should do when they get the warning. And that will also, of course, help to reduce panicked responses and inappropriate responses. But the bottom line is we don’t see any evidence of poor behavior or bad behavior when people get these warnings.”
KCBS In Depth also talks with Lt. Erica Arteseros, coordinator for the San Francisco Fire Department’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) who also weighs in on new technology and also discusses what to do to be prepared for the next quake.