The US Geological Survey (USGS) awarded $4.9 million to Caltech and five other universities and a university-governed nonprofit to advance the West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System.

Caltech, Central Washington University, UC Berkeley, University of Oregon, University of Washington, University of Nevada, Reno, and University Navstar Consortium (UNAVCO), Inc., received money to help advance the system.

“The additional $4.9 million awarded to the Earthquake Early Warning System brings us one step closer to fully deploying this technology which can save lives in the event of a major earthquake,” said US Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), who spearheaded funding efforts for the system.

“I will continue to work on a bipartisan basis to provide funding for this vital public safety system to ensure that it reaches its full potential,” Schiff said in a statement. “We know that it is a matter of ‘when,’ not ‘if’ a major earthquake will strike the West Coast, and a fully operational early warning system will help us be ready.”

The universities will partner with the USGS and collaborate to improve the ShakeAlert system’s sensor and telemetry infrastructure across the West Coast. ShakeAlert is a new product of the USGS Advanced National Seismic System, a federation of national and regional earthquake monitoring networks throughout the country, including networks in Southern and Northern California, Nevada and the Pacific Northwest.

In June, Schiff and his colleagues sent a letter to President Trump expressing grave concern that the White House eliminated funding for the West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System in its Fiscal Year 2018 budget request. In March, Schiff, along with 36 colleagues in Congress, sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee urging its members to increase the federal funding level to $16.1 million in fiscal year 2018 to fully build and maintain an early warning system on the West Coast, resulting in $10.2 million for the system. Schiff previously secured $8.2 million in the FY 2016 funding bill specifically designated for a West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System.