Earthquake alerts in Mexico could soon go direct to citizens’ cellphones, giving them more time to evacuate buildings and seek safety.
The federal organization that tracks earthquakes and runs the country’s early warning system, CIRES, announced that it plans to introduce cell phone alerts and said the warnings would reach citizens regardless of network operators, the quality of their internet connections and without the need for them to download an application.
The improved early warnings would be transmitted through the technology Cell Broadcast, which enables CIRES to send out bulk messages to cell phone users in a defined area.
Cell Broadcast technology is not affected by external factors such as saturation of telephone lines or natural disasters.
Cell Broadcast is already being used by at least 18 countries and members of the European Union.
CIRES said that other more well known modes of communication were too unreliable, and could endanger citizens if used to provide earthquake alerts. “Social networks … like other means of information on the internet, eventually suffer interruptions, delays and suspension in their services. This makes them unreliable for early seismic alerts,” it said in a statement.
CIRES revealed its intention to use Cell Broadcast on social media. “CIRES’ telecommunications capacity could be used to broadcast seismic warning through Cell Broadcast technology … Mexico is already working on it. It could put it into operation in the medium term,” a post read.
Mexico City and other states have reacted to warning sirens at least twice this month, but no major damage was reported from either event.