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Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) announced this week it is piloting a new earthquake early warning system designed to provide airport employees and guests extra seconds of warning and automatically implement safety precautions prior to an expected earthquake.

The early warning system will be tested in early 2022 at one of the airport’s terminals and is being overseen by Los Angeles World Airports’ (LAWA) Emergency Management and Information Management and Technology divisions. The test program will leverage the U.S. Geological Survey’s ShakeAlert seismic sensors and can promptly issue automated alerts depending upon the anticipated severity of the earthquake as determined by computer algorithms.
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“We know it’s not a question of if, but rather when, the next earthquake will hit, and the ability to offer even a few precious seconds of warning can make a difference in helping to save lives and property,” said Justin Erbacci, LAWA CEO.

At LAX, the system will automatically trigger emergency notifications to our terminals to alert passengers prior to an anticipated earthquake. The pilot project also will investigate the possibility of automatically shutting down the airport’s fuel hydrant system to help prevent jet fuel from flowing during an anticipated earthquake.

Funding comes from a $1 million Innovation Fund, designed to provide City of Los Angeles departments to resources for ideas that can make the city work better.