ShakeAlert test message will buzz Oakland cell phones next Wednesday

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Soon, a vibration in your pocket will warn you of potentially dangerous vibrations beneath your feet.

Researchers need your help to make sure it works in case of a real emergency.

The California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) will conduct a test for sending early earthquake warning alerts to cell phones of people in Oakland next Wednesday, March 27 at 11:00am.

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It's called a ShakeAlert, and it will be sent to everyone inside a 60 square block area west of Lake Merritt in Downtown Oakland using geofencing technology. Some people outside the area may receive the alert, too. It's hooked up to the existing Early Earthquake Warning system.

Cal OES is asking those in the Oakland community to give feedback when they receive the notification on their cell phone. They're asking to follow these steps:

1) Before the test starts, using either your cell phone or your desktop computer go to the official web site Make sure that your correct time zone is being reflected in the readout.

2) Starting a few minutes in advance of the scheduled alert time (11:00 a.m. PDT), keep a close watch on your cell phone and the official time and note the exact time -- to the nearest second, if you can -- 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."

3) Please take this survey armed with the time (to the second) you received the alert.
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