California Strategy

Earthquake Warning Strategy for California

Existing technology, proven performance, public/private partnering

A Regional Approach to Earthquake Warning

SWS Regional Plan for California
CC-Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0/SWS

We are partnering with local and regional governments to deploy earthquake warning in public facilities. Public funds are used for earthquake warning applications and private funds are used to: build the system; pay for operations, maintenance, and expansion of the system; and to subsidize earthquake warning services for the public partners.


The Coachella Valley Regional Earthquake Warning System (CREWS) was the first regional project announced. It is a partnership between the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG), 3 public school districts, and Seismic Warning Systems.

Learn about CREWS »


Imperial County and Seismic Warning Systems announced the funding of the Imperial County Regional Earthquake Warning System (ICREWS) on April 25, 2014.

Learn about ICREWS »

Regional Public/Private Partnerships (PPP)

Step-by-step Regional EQW Application Deployment

We have developed a model for public/private partnering to protect public facilities, people, and infrastructure. This model is the basis of the projects in the Coachella Valley and Imperial County. Each project proceeds in phases as shown below.

Step #1

Local and regional hazards and vulnerabilities are assessed for their impact on system design, deployment, training, and preparedness.

Step #2

Using private finding, we build the earthquake warning system for the region, customized for regional hazards and vulnerabilities.

Step #3

Local and regional public partners identify earthquake warning applications for schools, fire & police stations, and other selected public facilities.

Step #4

Public partners pay to install any needed devices to implement earthquake warning applications and 3-5 years of earthquake warning services.

Step #5
Ramp Up

Installation payments help cover operation of the system until revenue from businesses and individuals ramps up to levels needed to sustain operations.

Step #6

Continuing earthquake warning services are provided by Seismic Warning Systems to our public partners at no cost.

Benefits of the Regional Model

The regional approach to earthquake warning as adopted by our public partners, has the following benefits:

  • The regional projects are more manageable, reducing risks.
  • Specific regional hazards and vulnerabilities are addressed.
  • The regional approach protects communities sooner than alternatives.
  • Local stakeholders get a large measure of control and influence.
  • Private capital is used for constructing the system.
  • Commercial revenue is used to pay for operations, maintenance, and upgrades.
  • A one time charge for installation is all that is required of public partners.
  • In many cases, private donations or grants are available to cover public costs.
  • There is no long term funding required from the public partners.

California Earthquake Early Warning System (CEEWS)

In early 2013, the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) convened a Working Group of organizations to coordinate an effort to bring earthquake warning to Californians as quickly as possible.

This group included the California Seismic Safety Commission, the Calfornia Geological Survey, the University of California at Berkeley, the California Institue of Technology, and the United State Gelogical Survey, and Seismic Warning Systems.

In the summer of 2013, the California Legislature passed SB135 directing CalOES to develop a plan for earthquake warning with the following objectives:

  • Identify sources of funding (but not the General Fund)
  • Ensure an effective system
  • Use a public/private partnership
  • Develop an organizational structure
  • Produce a comprehensive plan for training and education.

The Working Group produced recommendations in early 2014 and subcommittees were formed to work on the details.

We are contributing to these subcommittee discussions and have offered our Public/Private Partnership regional model adopted by the Coachella Valley and Imperial County as a model for delivering statewide earthquake warning.

It is expected that California will make final decisions about how to proceed by January, 2016.

CEEWS Working Group logos
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