In a natural catastrophe as devastating as an earthquake, an alert a few seconds as it strikes can reduce panic and save lives.
To provide that split second alert, a nine-member research team at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-CSIO) laboratory in the city worked for 17 months and results are now showing. A system that can sense, record and generate alerts in real-time about an imminent earthquake is now ready.
The system — in use at Delhi Metro — had helped in stopping services after the recent tremors.
The system works on sensors that are installed around important buildings and cities.
The institute plans to expand the use of the technology and take it to cities like Chandigarh and at important buildings like refineries and nuclear plants. It now wants to collaborate with mobile service providers to provide warnings to customers and registered users.
“A technology has been invented, now we want to involve a third party that will play an important role between the user and the CSIO,” said Satish Kumar, principal scientist, Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) CSIR.
“The sensors are highly sensitive. Whenever there is a vibration on the earth, sensors detect it and send signals about the seismic activity to the central control unit,” Kumar says.
He added, “Depending upon the response of individual nodes/sensor, the central control unit takes a final decision and, if needed, generates an audio visual alarm and sends details via email and SMS to registered users. As the speed of light is faster than seismic waves, the signals sent reach the spot before the tremor, giving a few seconds of prior alert to take preventive measures.”
However, how much time before the earthquake, the information will reach people depends upon the distance of the nodes from the centre and the epicentre of the earthquake.
How will it work in Chandigarh
For Chandigarh, three-four sensors will be placed at the fencing of the city and these would be connected to the central control units that could be the CSIO building itself.
The alert will be generated and it will be sent to registered users. If mobile companies coordinate, the signal will be sent to mobile companies and within no time, people can see an alert on an imminent earhquake.
CSIO director RK Sinha said, “We are keen to generate mobile alerts and for this the institute is looking to collaborate with mobile service providers to provide warnings to customers.”