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City of Newport Beach May Consider Upgrading Earthquake Warning Technology

As news of earthquakes and tsunami warnings dominated the collective conversation last week, the city of Newport Beach may consider upgrading its earthquake-warning systems.

“I believe it is our responsibility that first responders have the latest technology,” said Newport Beach City Councilman Kevin Muldoon. 

The first rumblings of earthquake talk began on Jan. 23 when a 7.9 magnitude quake jolted the southern coast of Alaska just 175 miles southeast of Kodiak, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The U.S. Tsunami Warning System issued a tsunami warning for Hawaii and the West Coast, which was eventually downgraded to an advisory. (No tsunami was recorded.)

Just days later, another earthquake measuring 4.1 magnitude hit at 2:09 a.m. PT, with its epicenter about eight miles from Trabuco Canyon, Calif., in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. According to Dr. Lucy Jones, a noted seismologist, the earthquake was near but not on the Elsinore fault.

Tremors from the earthquake were felt in Lake Hughes, Barstow, San Diego and even right here in Newport Beach.

“The city of Newport is not far from the San Andreas fault and sits on the Newport-Inglewood fault line,” explained Muldoon. At a recent safety meeting, he learned of new advances by Early Warning Labs, LLC, a Santa Monica, CA-based technology developer and integrator providing industry-leading systems for both residential and commercial use.

Early Warning Labs is currently partnering with the government and universities across the country, investing millions into the research, study and execution of earthquake-warning technology.


Muldoon said the company uses proprietary technology to send notifications that travel at the speed of light to provide up to 60 seconds of earthquake notification before an earthquake hits. Once the quake happens, the technology can also be used to thwart dangerous situations. For instance, spotlights can be triggered to prevent drivers from traveling across damaged infrastructure.

“We should consider their technology,” Muldoon said. “It’ll make Newport Beach a safer place.”

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