SACRAMENTO — The state Earthquake Brace + Bolt program (EBB), funded primarily by the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), has received more than 7,500 California homeowners applying for 2,000 retrofit grants of up to $3,000 for seismic retrofits in older houses.

San Fernando was one of several California cities and communities where homeowners were encouraged to apply. The CEA closed the application process on Feb. 23.

In early March, qualifying homeowners will be selected through a random drawing to either participate in the EBB program or be placed on the waiting list. Wait-listed homeowners may be accepted into the program throughout the year.

“A record number of Californians signed up for EBB this year, and that is another indication of the growing awareness in our state of the need to become better prepared for the next damaging earthquake,” said CEA CEO Glenn Pomeroy.

“We offer retrofit grants so families can strengthen their older houses, and we provide further financial incentives, such as a 20 percent discount on CEA earthquake insurance premiums for houses that have been properly retrofitted.”

The EBB program targets houses that were built before 1979, with an emphasis on pre-1940 houses. All of the target houses have a raised concrete foundation, and some have wood-framed walls (called cripple walls) in the crawl space under the first floor. 

A brace-and-bolt seismic retrofit braces the cripple walls and bolts the house to its foundation, to help keep the house from collapsing or from toppling off the foundation.

“We estimate there are over 1.2 million target houses in California’s high-seismic-hazard areas,” said CEA Chief Mitigation Officer and EBB Executive Director Janiele Maffei. “These houses are particularly vulnerable to earthquakes, and we are constantly looking for additional sources of funds to help more Californians make their older houses safer through a code-compliant retrofit.”

EBB funds come primarily from CEA, the state’s not-for-profit residential insurance provider formed in the wake of the Northridge earthquake in the mid-1990s. From this fund, CEA will provide $6 million this year to help fund 2,000 or more code-compliant seismic retrofits.

The California Earthquake Authority is a not-for-profit, privately funded, publicly managed organization that provides residential earthquake insurance and encourages Californians to reduce their risk of earthquake loss. For more information, visit EarthquakeAuthority.com.

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