After the installation our first seismic warning system at the headquarters fire station located at Palm Springs International Airport, we undertook an extensive fire station expansion. Being only 300 yards from the main runway, I was pleased to see that the earthquake monitor had not accidentally activated from the noise and vibration from arriving and departing aircraft since being installed one year before.
Next came the real test.
As the contractors demolished parts of the apparatus room and brought in heavy equipment to break apart the concrete apron that was up to 20" thick in some areas, the station was almost uninhabitable due to the constant noise, earthquake-like vibrations, and shaking and pounding of huge concrete breakers. I felt certain that we would encounter activation of the seismic monitoring system on the first day.
To my surprise, the system did not trigger or activate itself in any way during the two week demolition as I would have expected. The staff at Seismic Warning Systems assured me that these were not the type of vibrations and waves that their sensors would act upon.
To this day, I am still amazed that the system did not initiate the process of opening our apparatus room doors, turn on the lights, and announce that seismic motion had been detected over the station intercom speakers.
Based on this experience and the actual activation of the system during a 5.1 earthquake on October 31, 2001, the City Council has authorized the installation of four additional seismic warning systems. The citizens of Palm Springs will be better protected by the installation of the Seismic Warning System in each of its 5 fire stations.