BART to participate in the Great California ShakeOut 2017


BART to participate in the Great California ShakeOut 2017

ShakeOutBART will participate in the Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill tomorrow, Thursday October 19, to test our emergency response systems and to help raise public awareness of the importance of having a plan and being prepared.

At 10:19 a.m., BART staff will trigger our early warning earthquake system to ensure it is functioning and working correctly.  Once triggered, trains will automatically slow down to 26 mph.  BART will also make a systemwide public announcement encouraging riders to be prepared for earthquakes.  BART will also test our internal communications systems to notify employees and the operations control center will observe earthquake alarms and our train control systems to ensure they are working properly.

Early Warning Earthquake System

BART is an early adopter of the ShakeAlert system which is connected to seismic stations located throughout Northern California.  When the alarm is triggered, the system sends a speed restriction command to trains.  This system removes human response time and can even slow trains down before the shaking occurs depending on how far away the quake is centered.

Emergency Response Plan

BART has an Earthquake Emergency Response Plan and we hold several drills a year to ensure staff is trained and ready to respond. In the event of an earthquake, riders should listen for instructions from BART personnel. Employees are trained to evacuate the public from dangerous areas.  Following an earthquake, BART trains are held in place (except for trains in the Transbay Tube and Berkeley Hills Tunnel) until it is determined it is safe to move the train to the nearest station where riders will be off-boarded.

Earthquake Safety Program

BART has spent the last decade retrofitting vulnerable high traffic portions of the original system to make it safer in a large quake.  The Earthquake Safety Program is funded in part by Measure AA, a $980 million general obligation BART bond approved by voters in 2004.  The Program focuses on upgrading portions of the original system not only for life safety but also to ensure that we can return to operation shortly after a major earthquake.   Last year the board approved a contract to complete the final stages of retrofitting work in the Transbay Tube.  Work in the tunnel will begin in late 2018 and will take about 2.5 years.  The entire project is expected to be completed in 2022.

Visit Shakeout.org for simple safety steps during earthquakes.