According to friends I know in Japan, this handy little app also has a mobile phone counterpart that goes off if there’s been seismic activity detected. It’s pretty remarkable when you think about the absolute dearth of similar early warning systems in the United States — the kind that have the capacity or capability to alert lots of people to a common threat without them all watching television or being above ground or in earshot of a warning siren.
Still, the video is a stunning trip back to the earthquake that rocked the country earlier in the year. It’s amazing, and it’s amazing to see the depth to which the Japanese monitor the situation before, during, and after. There’s even a timer to let him know that the earthquake is about to hit, so he should get clear.
This is also what popped up on my iPhone about 2 seconds after I noticed the shaking… Notice how it started off slow– but when I saw the warning, I broke for door and ran into the parking lot across the street, right before the REAL shaking started…
What a lot of people don’t know is that all gas meters have radio transponders in them in addition to mercury switches. In a normal situation, the motion will trigger the gas meter to cut the flow– but in this situation, the gas provider, Tokyo Gas, sent a signal to all the mains to go into emergency shutdown– probably preventing a major gas explosion. The system did work; I had to manually reset my gas meter at my house in Yokohama later that night.