News Releases

Murray helped secure $13 million in 2015 to build out early earthquake warning system for the West Coast
Murray: “Extra boost will keep the momentum going to make sure we’re preparing Washington for a large-scale event”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Sen. Patty Murray applauded President Obama’s announcement outlining new steps to increase the nation’s resilience to large-scale earthquakes, and to promote safety and preparedness. Joined by state and local governments and private-sector leaders, the President called for additional improvements to warning systems, better building infrastructure and protections, and making sure citizens have the information they need to be prepared.


“This commitment to improving earthquake emergency preparedness is an important step toward fulfilling our promise to do what we can to keep our families and communities safe from these potential disasters,” said Senator Murray. “I was proud to fight for investments in our Earthquake Early Warning system last year, and this extra boost will keep the momentum going to make sure we’re preparing Washington for a large-scale event.”


The earthquake preparedness executive order announced today includes an operational phase of ShakeAlert, the West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System, state commitments (including from Washington Governor Jay Inslee) in earthquake and tsunami preparedness, and commitments from private sector groups to play a strong role in helping vulnerable regions prepare for earthquakes.


ShakeAlert is being developed at the University of Washington in partnership with other West Coast universities and could save lives and mitigate destruction in the event of a megaquake along the Cascadia subduction zone. Last year, Senator Murray, along with Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-6) helped secure $13 million in federal investments for the warning system and called on the federal government to make further investments in research and disaster preparedness. The warning system is designed to detect the first tremors of a major earthquake and provide users with anywhere from seconds to minutes of warning before a quake hits, which would provide crucial, life-saving time for safety precautions.