USGS explains what to do when you get a ShakeAlert earthquake warning notification

BySuzanne Phan via KGO logo
Thursday, September 15, 2022
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USGS explains what you should do when you get a ShakeAlert early earthquake warning system notification.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Some business owners and homeowners in Santa Rosa are cleaning up, while others need to make repairs after 4.4 magnitude earthquake centered near Santa Rosa around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night.

It's the Bay Area's strongest earthquake in three years.

RELATED: Preliminary 4.4 magnitude earthquake strikes near Santa Rosa on Rodgers Creek Fault, USGS says

The quake really did some damage at Campus Market and Liquor on Mendocino Avenue.

Store owner Reshma Charaniya says the earthquake that jolted Santa Rosa sent bottles flying off her shelves. That included a top shelf bottle of liquor worth $1,600.

"I have never seen something like that in my life here. This is the first time that's happened here," said Charaniya.

Scientists say Tuesday's quake -- and the 3.9 aftershock that followed a minute later -- is a wakeup call for us to practice or prepare for the big one in the future.

They offer these three important tips:

  • Make sure you know how to stop, drop and hold on.
  • Have a disaster supply kit ready to go.
  • Download the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System app.
  • VIDEO: Here's what to pack in your earthquake emergency kit

    It's a tool available to everyone in California, Oregon and Washington that warns you that a quake is coming.

    The warning you get depends on a number of factors including how far you are form the epicenter of the quake.

    Robert de Groot, a scientist with USGS, is also ShakeAlert coordinator.

    "Some people had 10 seconds of warning before shaking arrived at their location. Some people reported they had no seconds at all -- the shaking arrived just as the alert was arriving," said de Groot.

    Lucem Angevin got the alert on her phone. She says it's a good thing.

    "The alert did help me process and register what was happening," said Angevin.

    We asked authorities what people are supposed to do with the information -- that an earthquake is perhaps just 5 or 10 seconds away. They say the warning give people time to take action.

    "...to help complement what they are already doing which is drop, cover, and hold on," said de Groot.

    Authorities say the alert system and the quake in Santa Rosa are important lessons.

    "We have 50 earthquakes a day in California. We live in earthquake country. I don't think if an earthquake is happening. It's just when," said de Groot.

    If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live