A statewide earthquake early warning system (EEWS) is being developed for California under the leadership of the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES). There is a proven capability of these systems to provide vital alerts to businesses and citizens, giving them up to several minutes of warning to enable protecting critical systems, securing transport and permitting preparedness response. In the recent 2017 Mexico earthquakes, citizens were given zero to 20 seconds warning depending on their location to get to safety.

However, EEWS are not new. In fact, some have been active for decades. Japan has had a nationwide system since 2007; Taiwan since 2001. Mexico deployed their system, SASMEX, in the 1990s which has since been expanded. Systems have also been deployed in Chile, Canada and China and they are planned for Europe. All of these systems have elements in common, including sensors, connecting communications links, central processing computers and notification networks, and they have some differences, principally the elements of the software that need to be tailored to the geology of the region.

Most of these systems are local or regional; only the Taiwan and Japan systems are effectively nationwide. But 11 European and Mediterranean countries are planning a multinational system. Starting in 2006 the European Commission funded work on the Seismic Early Warning for Europe (SAFER), designed to alert citizens about seismic risk.