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Latino Daily News

Thursday April 5, 2012

Mexico City: Free BlackBerry App Alerts Users Prior to Major Earthquakes

Mexico City: Free BlackBerry App Alerts Users Prior to Major Earthquakes

Photo: Mexico City: Free BlackBerry App Alerts Users Prior to Major Earthquakes

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Mexico City is offering a free app for those with BlackBerrys that alerts users prior to massive earthquakes.

The app will alert the city’s 20 million residents up to 50 seconds before an earthquake hits.

During the apps unveiling, Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said, “We did not have this in 1985. If we had, then surely thousands of lives would have been saved.”

In 1985, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck the city just after 7 a.m. It resulted in the death of at least 10,000 people and severely damaged many parts of the city. The 8.0 was followed by two aftershocks with magnitudes of 7.5 and a 7.0

The few seconds before an earthquake can mean life or death, and Ebrard says this app is part of the city’s attempt to save more people.

The app is part of the advance-alert system developed by Mexico’s National Autonomous University, and has been tested by government officials who said the app’s alerts gave them enough of a warning ahead of the March 20 earthquake that they were able to prepare themselves and increase the safety of themselves and those around them.

In the next few weeks, 6,800 alarms will be placed throughout the city, hopefully further increasing the number of people given advanced warning.