The California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP) announced this week the drawing of 10 Los Angeles-area houses entered for participation in its Earthquake Brace + Bolt pilot program. The owners of these selected houses may each receive up to $3,000 to complete seismic retrofits.
Introduced in September, Earthquake Brace + Bolt is a program designed to help California homeowners retrofit and protect their largest investment ÔÇô their home ÔÇô and safeguard their loved ones.
Many houses have a short, wood-framed wall (a "cripple wall") between the foundation and the main floor that needs to be strengthened ("braced") to avoid seismic collapse--bracing means placing plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) along the cripple wall.
In addition, adding bolts to improve the connection between the house's wooden frame and its concrete foundation help keep the house from sliding during an earthquake.
During its 30-day registration period, the pilot program received nearly 150 applications from residents in the two eligible Los Angeles-area ZIP Codes in the Eagle Rock neighborhood. This area was selected for the pilot due to its high number of houses that meet code requirements for seismic retrofits and the a high rate of owner-occupied houses.
"The interest and response to our pilot program has been tremendous," said CRMP Executive Director Janiele Maffei. "Homeowners are clearly interested in helping protect their families and homes through these retrofits--and of course retrofitting is just one of many steps homeowners can and should take to help reduce damage from earthquakes."
The drawing consisted of randomly selecting 10 homeowners from qualified applicants in the Los Angeles pilot areas and was conducted under the observation of an auditor from JLK Rosenberger and Associates. Once the selected homeowners are notified, a review of their houses by CRMP representatives will confirm their eligibility in the pilot program--and once their eligibility is confirmed, those homeowners may proceed with their retrofit projects.
Retrofits will begin taking place later this year, and completion is expected by spring 2014.
The pilot is a first step in preparing California homeowners for the next big earthquake. CRMP will evaluate the pilot, from outreach to implementation, and use that information to shape a potential statewide program in the future.
"Another key step in earthquake preparedness is the purchase of earthquake insurance," said Glenn Pomeroy, CEO of the California Earthquake Authority. "Earthquake insurance not only protects family finances, but provides homeowners with the ability to repair, rebuild, or replace their covered property after California's next damaging earthquake."
"In addition to developing a family emergency plan and making sure you have personal preparedness kits, this program is another important step in our joint effort to brace against the effects of the next big quake here in California," said Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services. "It's important that everyone do their part to become earthquake prepared."
CRMP is a joint powers authority created by the California Earthquake Authority and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services.