(Pasadena, CA) -- Seven institutions up and down the West Coast are getting a financial boost for the development of an earthquake warning system. The U.S. Geological Survey has announced it's awarded nearly five-million dollars in federal funds to Caltech, U.C. Berkeley, Central Washington University, the universities of Oregon, Washington and Nevada-Reno and the geological-science research nonprofit UNAVCO. Those institutions have been working with the USGS to develop the ShakeAlert system, which is designed to give residents several seconds of advance warning of a major earthquake on the West Coast. Experts say even just a few seconds can mean the difference between life and death in a major quake.