Be ready for local disasters with SD Emergency App equipped with ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system

The notification that accompanied the ShakeReadySD alert that went out on the SD Emergency App on March 31. File photo/

DID you get an earthquake early warning alert on your smartphone for an earthquake near Palomar Observatory seconds after 6:16 p.m. on March 31? The quake shook parts of San Diego, Orange and Riverside Counties. The alert delivered in Spanish and English said, “Earthquake Detected: Drop, Cover, and Hold On.”

“We want to remind San Diegans about this safety capability they can easily activate on their smartphones, if they have not done so yet. The free SD Emergency app will alert you and give you a small amount of time to protect yourself and others,” said Jeff Toney, director of the County Office of Emergency Services.

The County’s SD Emergency app, which now has a built-in earthquake early warning capability called ShakeReadySD, delivered approximately 700 alerts to its users on March 31. ShakeReadySD is powered by data from the U.S. Geological Survey-managed ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning System. The alerts were sent to people who live in communities that would feel the strongest shaking south of Temecula and to some communities north of Escondido and Oceanside.

The Office of Emergency Services launched ShakeReadySD on Aug. 25, 2021 after collaborating with the USGS. The USGS and San Diego County OES are committed to making Earthquake Early Warning available to all. The USGS is working with OES to improve the app and make it more accessible to multi-cultural and multi-lingual communities.

The SD Emergency App has more than 36,000 downloads. In the event of a real earthquake and after a ShakeReadySD alert on users’ phones, users would also receive other emergency notifications such as road closures, shelters, or other relevant critical information as it is determined.

“SD Emergency is a multi-hazard tool that would also send you important information about other emergencies such as wildfires, extreme weather and terrorism affecting your location in the region,” said Toney. “And it helps people prepare with tips for before, during and after various San Diego County emergencies.”

For people who downloaded the app prior to August 2021, the new feature will only work after updating the app and then configuring the settings including selecting English or Spanish and allowing the app to always track the phone’s location so it can accurately alert the user if an earthquake with moderate to strong shaking is expected in the area. This free app is available for iOS and Android phones.

Visit ReadySanDiego ( to learn more. To learn more about ShakeAlert EEW, visit and follow @USGS_ShakeAlert on Twitter.

(Yvette Urrea Moe/County of San Diego Communications Office)

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