160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Scientists will gather data without broadcasting alerts to residents or businesses. While a working system is still years and tens of millions of dollars away, many see the pilot project as a first step toward catching up with the rest of the world. PASADENA – The ground heaves, an earthquake is born. Underground sensors along fault lines detect rumblings humans can’t and relay signals to a central computer. Precious seconds before anything is felt, wailing sirens blare that a big one is on its way. That sliver of time could be used to warn people to flee from windows and take cover. Companies such as gas and electric utilities could take actions to protect their systems. Speeding trains could have enough time to brake to a halt. Such alert systems already exist in parts of Japan, Mexico, Taiwan and Turkey where the main users are businesses such as railway companies, power plants and manufacturers. But that’s not the case in the United States – except for a handful of schools, firehouses and airports that use commercially available, battery-powered seismic gadgets that warn a limited region. This summer, the U.S. Geological Survey is cautiously taking another look at early warning, beginning with a three-year test to gauge how well three experimental systems around California would work in the real world.
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