OREGON -- On Thursday, the United States Geological Survey launches its Shake Alert early warning system in Oregon.
At 10:00 a.m., USGS flips the switch so that you can start getting earthquake alerts through apps on your cellphone or smart device.
Officials say they want to make sure that people have as many different ways to receive the alert as possible because those seconds of warning can save lives.
"That's why preparedness is so important. This is one of the most incredibly valuable things that a family can do to make disasters less impactful on them. We want to do this before the emergency strikes and what we encourage Oregonians is to be is what we call ‘two weeks ready,’” said Althea Rizzo, geological hazards program coordinator for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.
Officials from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry say there are common misconceptions about the earthquake early warning system.
One of them is that it can somehow predict earthquakes before they begin.
That is not the case because that scientific technology doesn’t exist, according to officials.
"A Shake Alert can’t detect an earthquake before it occurs, but it can detect an earthquake that has just begun, and it can do so very rapidly so that some people can get alerts before they even feel shaking. So, this distinction is really important, especially for the media, because we don't want to give people the impression that shake alert or any kind of technology or any kind of internet guru can predict earthquakes before they occur,” said Jenny Crayne, an educator with OMSI.
Oregon is the second state to get the system turned on.