The Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved a $250,000 award to Seismic Warning Systems, Inc. of Scotts Valley, to deploy the nation's first regional earthquake warning system, officials announced on Tuesday.
Seismic Warning Systems has already been providing systems for early seismic detection and automated system response to commercial, industrial and government customers for twelve years.
During that time, many potentially dangerous quakes have been detected and acted upon, saving lives and protecting against injury, without a single false alarm, officials said in a release.
The new regional system will be the first to provide integrated solutions to protect critical infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, and fire stations.
The idea for the regional earthquake warning project surfaced in the aftermath of the magnitude 7.2 Baja California Earthquake that struck on Easter Sunday of April 5, 2010.
Imperial County Fire Chief Tony Rouhotas spearheaded the effort to bring the next generation of earthquake early warning detection to Imperial County.
"I am pleased Imperial County has moved forward to provide protection to our critical assets and personnel. We will be working with a team of people to bring the early earthquake warning system to an operational status," Chief Rouhotas said.
"I'm excited to see what the future can bring to the entire region and at state levels by the implementation of this type of warning/notification system," he added.
"This is a big first step, but just one of many, as I hope to build momentum along the way from notification of first responders to its expansion to other stakeholders from the state of California to our local school districts," said Rouhotas.
The system for Imperial County will initially protect fire stations, hospitals, public dispatch centers and Imperial Irrigation District assets, according to officials.
The founder of the Seismic Warning System, George E. Dickson III, said, "This is a watershed moment for our mission to protect children, critical infrastructure and first responders from earthquakes, and it is a major milestone in our quest to transform earthquake warning notification and action throughout the world."
The company designs and manufactures the patented QuakeGuard™ family of seismic detection systems, which help avert human injury, mitigate earthquake damage to property and other assets, according to officials.
The exact date the regional warning system will be in place isn't known at this time.