U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) this week called on the state and federal governments to partner with the private sector to build an integrated earthquake early-warning system to save lives and property.
Her statement, made in Washington, D.C., came after a major earthquake struck Napa, Vallejo and other areas in the American Canyon early Sunday morning.
"With more than 100 injured and estimates of damage approaching $1 billion, the Napa earthquake reminds us how incredibly dangerous these temblors can be," Feinstein said. "There's no doubt a major earthquake will hit California, the only questions are when and where.
"I believe an integrated earthquake early-warning system is essential to save lives and property," she added. "Two bills from the Senate Appropriations Committee move us toward that goal. The bill to fund the Department of the Interior includes $5 million to begin work on an early-warning system, while the bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security urges FEMA to prioritize grant funds for such a system. These bills will advance this fall and I will continue to prioritize funding for this system."
"An earthquake early-warning system would provide crucial time to carry out lifesaving actions," Feinstein continued. "A warning of even a handful of seconds would allow for emergency notifications to be sent; trains and traffic to be slowed or stopped; supplies of oil, gas and chemicals to be turned off; nuclear plants to be safeguarded; even elevators to be safely emptied."
Feinstein said that what's needed, is a political resolve to deploy such a system.
"Officials in Washington and along the West Coast should partner with the private sector to make an interoperable earthquake early-warning system a reality, and we should do so as soon as possible before a much larger earthquake strikes."