Test of cell phone earthquake alerts to take place Wednesday in Oakland

A test for sending out earthquake alerts to cell phones in and around downtown Oakland will be conducted at 11 a.m. Wednesday. This test of the Wireless Emergency Alert system is being coordinated by the state Office of Emergency Services and the United States Geological Survey, in partnership with the City of Oakland and Alameda County.

Using current geofencing technology, this test will target cell phones within an area of approximately 60 square blocks east of Lake Merritt in downtown Oakland. However, because of limitations with the technology, some people outside the target area may receive the alert, too.

The public agencies want as many people to take the alert tests as possible. Follow these steps if you want to participate:

*Before the test starts, using either your cell phone or your desktop computer, go to the official web site www.time.is and make sure the correct time zone (Pacific) is being reflected in the readout;

*Starting a few minutes before 11 a.m. Wednesday, the scheduled alert time, keep a close watch on your cell phone and the official time and note the exact time — to the nearest second, if possible — at which the alert first arrives on your phone. This alert will have the heading “Emergency Alert,” and this message: “TEST of the CA Earthquake Warning System. No action required. THIS IS A TEST”;

*Complete a 13-question survey, noting the time (to the second) an alert is received. The survey link is https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WEATESTSHAKEALERT.

This citizen science test is part of an effort to develop Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) systems, using science, state-of-the-art monitoring technology, and innovative delivery methods to alert people via devices before the anticipated strongest shaking arrives in affected regions. Seconds to tens of seconds of alert can provide opportunity to take life-saving actions such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On.

For more information on the test and how to participate, go to www.caloes.ca.gov/eew

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