ShakeAlert is set to become the biggest public safety event in Silicon Valley

Bay Area earthquake came with early warning for 2.1 million ShakeAlert app users across the nation.

“Our first responders were told to act quickly and safely,” Mayor Ed Lee said. “They’ll be remembered forever as heroes protecting the public’s lives and saving lives.”

For the record, ShakeAlert was built in response to the magnitude 5.7 quake, which occurred about 19 miles southeast of San Francisco on Tuesday. It’s the first major temblor in the Bay Area since the 1989 Northridge earthquake, when some buildings swayed by nearly a mile.

A preliminary death toll rose to 37, with nearly 1,500 people injured.

The earthquake was just one of dozens of seismic events happening across the world, including the Japan quake that killed nearly 22,000 people and triggered the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011.

“Just like a good disaster movie does, it starts with the earthquake, the first one does, and then it builds a chain reaction of more earthquakes, and a tsunami,” said Bob O’Hanlon, a seismologist at the Stanford University Earth Observatory.

The San Francisco mayor said the ShakeAlert app is set to become “the biggest public safety event in the history of Silicon Valley,” with more than 2.1 million people around the world going into emergency mode.

“Our app is going to be the best in the world,” he said. “It’s going to be on, 24/7, live and available to everyone, anywhere.”

The ShakeAlert app is free, but the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said it will charge a fee for the two extra features: location and alerts.

The first time a user logs on to ShakeAlert is Tuesday, when the system is launched with a 20-minute alert. Then, with a few taps, they will be able to share their exact location with friends or family.

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