The long-awaited ShakeAlertLA app has finally arrived! The app functions as an early earthquake warning system, notifying users up to one minute before a major earthquake occurs.

Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles made an official statement on Thursday.

“Angelenos should have every opportunity to protect themselves and their families when there is a major earthquake,” Garcetti said in a statement. “We created the ShakeAlertLA app because getting a few seconds of head-up can make a big difference if you need to pull to the side of the road, get out of the elevator, or drop, cover, and hold on.” WHAT SHAKEALERTLA DOES: The stunning app was developed by Garcetti’s U.S. office. Geological Survey (USGS), AT&T, Annenberg Foundation.

In addition to sending early earthquake alerts–for earthquakes of 5.0 magnitude or greater–the app has a map section displaying all recent local earthquakes in Los Angeles.

This is not the first innovation of its kind. Countries like Mexico and Japan have also put in place similar systems using sensors across the region that can track seismic activity before it surfaces. Both countries have been successful in applying to provide residents with enough time to shelter, duck and cover or evacuate hazardous areas.

The app has limitations. After California experienced its recent devastating wildfires, there was heavy criticism of how some phone warnings were received too late, especially for people in the affected areas. That’s because one of the biggest limitations of these apps is the ability of wireless carriers to deliver notifications during heavy-duty periods.

FUTURE OF SHAKEALERT: A Santa Monica-based laboratory is also working on a similar program, called Quake Warning, which would include a location-based earthquake countdown, depending on how far the person is from the epicenter of seismic activity.

“The City of LA is an important partner of ShakeAlert, undertaking the nation’s first test of delivering USGS-generated ShakeAlerts to a large population using a city-developed cell phone app,” said James Reilly, USGS director. “What we learn from this extended LA pilot will be used to benefit the entire current and future ShakeAlert program.” The next step in ShakeAlert’s limited release is to check its regional efficacy first, and then eventually expand to the entire West Coast.

In addition to keeping up-to-date on the latest earthquake news, it is critical to be vigilant in the planning and protection of earthquakes. Weinstein Engineering and Los Angeles Foundation Testing, Foundation Maintenance, Foundation Reconstruction and Earthquake Refurbishment Expert.

Weinstein Engineering has inspected more than 75.000 buildings, partnering with engineering firms and local engineering and safety authorities. Over the last five years, the company has done more ground reconstruction and earthquake retrofitting in Los Angeles than any other business in the country.