There are three factors that drive successful, large-scale deployments of EEWS:

  1. There needs to be a commitment from government to support the deployments and fund them.
  2. There needs to be a robust system of notification, including direct notification to critical businesses, such as energy and transport firms, and broadcast media and phone networks for mass notification.
  3. Perhaps most important, there needs to be an understanding by the public that there is no perfection when dealing with complex phenomena like earthquakes, so there may be some false warnings or undetected events. The expectation of perfection and the legal risks of lack of perfection can limit system deployments.

No EEW is perfect and totally reliable. However, millions of people around the world are now protected by EEW systems, and many lives have been saved because of them. Japan’s EEW system has been functional for ten years, and even though there have been false alarms, it has proven to be a valuable tool in reducing loss of life and injuries. It is likely that in the future we will see such systems as ubiquitous in areas with seismic risk, and we will all be safer.