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September 23, 2021

Los Angeles Airport to test earthquake early warning system

The earthquake early warning system will be tested at one of LAX’s terminals during the pilot.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in the US is set to pilot a new earthquake early warning system as part of its efforts during National Preparedness Month.

The use of this early warning system is expected to expedite the implementation of safety precautions and alert the airport employees and passengers some seconds before the earthquake strikes.

During the pilot study, the earthquake early warning system will be tested at one of LAX’s terminals by utilising $150,000 from the city’s Innovation and Performance Commission.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) CEO Justin Erbacci said: “We know it’s not a question of if, but rather when, the next earthquake will hit, and the ability to offer even a few precious seconds of warning can make a difference in helping to save lives and property.

“We thank the City Council and Mayor Garcetti for helping us to pilot this new technology, which is another step in making LAX the most prepared and resilient airport in the world.”

The early warning system is expected to be launched next year. The system is designed to monitor earthquake activity through the US Geological Survey’s ShakeAlert.

If it detects any shake, the system will leverage computer algorithms to determine the anticipated severity of the earthquake and issue automated alerts.

At LAX, the system will trigger emergency notifications at the terminals to alert the passengers during a quake.

During the pilot project, LAX will also assess the feasibility of automatically shutting down the airport’s fuel hydrant system to prevent leakage during an earthquake.

LAWA’s Emergency Management Division will lead the project in collaboration with the Information Management and Technology Division.

In July, the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC) approved more than $1bn to fund the final construction phase for the modernisation of LAX’s Terminals 4 and 5.

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